Jamie Foxx’s Verizon Dance

The claim. Actor Jamie Foxx stands before a map of the U.S. that’s covered in red, claiming “Verizon has more than three times the 4G LTE coverage as Sprint.” Another actor appears, saying he’s “Jamie Foxx from Sprint” and shows a similar map in yellow but with huge bare spots. His claim: Sprint offers “pretty much the same coverage—if you squint.” The real Jamie Foxx dances triumphantly for Verizon.

True or false? True, but somewhat misleading. Verizon does cover a bigger geographic area, but that doesn’t take into account where people actually live. OpenSignal, which tests coverage based on how often users have network access, says Verizon customers have 4G (LTE) service about 86 percent of the time, and Sprint customers have service about 70 percent of the time. (So the difference between the two carriers is much smaller than Verizon suggests.)

Ex-Verizon Guy Splits Hairs for Sprint

The claim. Actor Paul Marcarelli, who popularized the catchphrase “Can you hear me now?” for Verizon, is now in a barbershop singing Sprint’s praises. “All the networks are great now,” he says. “We’re talking within a 1 percent difference in reliability. And Sprint saves you 50 percent on most current national carrier rates.” He turns to a customer getting a haircut and asks: “If you got 1 percent more hair cut today, would you really pay twice as much?”

True or false? True, but somewhat misleading. The first claim of a 1 percent difference in voice/data reliability is backed by a 2015 Nielsen study. And Sprint does offer a 50 percent discount, but only if you’re switching from Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile—and the promotion lasts only until January 2018. Otherwise, Sprint’s rates aren’t much different from what you pay at Verizon or AT&T.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the March 2017 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.