T-Mobile recently found themselves in some hot water by a national advertising review board panel to stop claiming that the “Un-Carrier’s” 5G service was more reliable than that of AT&T or Verizon.
In August of this year, Verizon challenged T-Mobile over speed reliability claims to the National Advertising Division (NAD), and of course, T-Mobile appealed. The latest recommendation from the NAD comes as a partial victory for T-Mobile as they can tout their nationwide coverage but any claims about their network’s 5G speed being faster and more reliable than their competitors would not be allowed. NARB, an appellate advertising law body of BBB National programs agreed with NAD’s recommendation in August that T-Mobile’s advertising couldn’t say that their low-band 5G service was better than 4G, including its competitors and even its own network. The wireless operator said that they would follow through with NARB’s recommendations.
T-Mobile is using 600 MHz spectrum for their nationwide 5G network, which is supported on what’s called the “low-band” spectrum. The advertising that’s been disputed is T-Mobile’s claims that these signals were faster than mmWave spectrum (high-band spectrum), which is notably faster and what Verizon was primarily using at the time of the dispute. T-Mobile’s low-band 5G, which they’ve dubbed “Extended Range 5G’ covers 270 million Americans over 1.4 square miles.
Since August, T-Mobile has turned on its mid-band spectrum which sits on the 2.5 GHz spectrum for thousands of different cell sites. Verizon has also deployed out their nationwide 5G networks using dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) technology which basically allows Verizon to utilize existing 4G spectrum to deliver their 5G network. Verizon recently expanded their 5G network to include nationwide coverage that extends to over 230 million people.
T-Mobile’s message was disputed by NARB because “as T-Mobile’s 5G network does not equal or surpass its own 4G coverage or that of competitors.” The panel concluded that T-Mobile cannot prove that their network is more reliable than others and the operator “offered no such support for its 5G network reliability claims, parity or otherwise,” so NARB recommended they stop using that claim.
It’s not all bad news for T-Mobile though, NARB did deviate from one piece of NAD’s recommendation, that the wireless carrier could tout better 5G coverage without disclosing any other significant differences between its competitors, like speed because the NAD found the coverage claim to be generally true.
T-Mobile released a statement saying it “appreciates that the panel agreed that T-Mobile can continue to advertise its superior 5G coverage without qualification.”
Two other NAD recommendations that were shot down by T-Mobile’s appeal were claims that T-Mobile’s 5G network could extend to hard-to-reach rural areas because NARB said T-Mobile couldn’t supply any evidence to hold up that claim. The other recommendation was that T-Mobile was to stop saying that Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network had limited reach. The panel pointed to an advertisement featuring Bill Nye stating, “Other carriers have 5G signals that drop if you move two feet,” with a visual that sent a misleading message about Verizon’s 5G UWB coverage.
This showdown between T-Mobile and Verizon is just one of many to point out each other’s 5G shortcomings while boasting their own 5G network superiority. Verizon, however, hasn’t been clean in this fight. Earlier this year the carrier was told to modify some of their 5G claims about coverage but could keep the ad messaging related to speeds that are “10X faster” than T-Mobile’s.
Source: Fierce Wireless