False advertising doesn’t go unnoticed, and apparently, it doesn’t go unpunished, either. T-Mobile has been called out for some questionable messaging around being the fastest network available. As such, the National Advertising Division (NAD), an arm of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC), an advertising industry trade association, “recommended that T-Mobile discontinue certain advertising claims” around the Uncarrier’s 4G LTE network.
As a T-Mobile spokesperson told Digital Trends, NAD recommended that the company refrain from claiming network superiority over Verizon based on the data it initially submitted. In previous advertisements, T-Mobile used crowdsourced data from Ookla and Open Signal to claim that it had the “Fastest 4G LTE network.” However, Verizon pointed out that the folks who use these apps are a “subset of all smartphone users,” and that the data was likely skewed.
All the same, T-Mobile is holding strong to its claim of having a faster network, telling us, “We took [NAD’s] recommendation into account, looked at the newest third-party data, and found that it still shows T-Mobile has the fastest network. We will continue to make this claim.”
In general, NAD noted in its announcement that advertisers ought to “regularly monitor and reexamine their advertising claims to make certain that the underlying data upon which they are based is current so that their advertising claims are truthful, and recognizes that changes to a network or network service conditions will impact whether a service provider’s comparative claims are supported.”
The advertising watchdog often hands down decisions that can be used in lieu of a courtroom drama — after all, Verizon decided to take its case to NAD rather than suing its competitor over erroneous claims. That said, NAD points out that its recommendations do not constitute a “finding of wrongdoing,” and further noted that “an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety.”
All the same, Verizon can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that T-Mobile is no longer at its throat regarding network speed and newness. But alas, don’t expect the comparison ads between these two (and all other networks) to end.
Update: T-Mobile reached out to Digital Trends to clarify the NAD decision.