NAD issues decision on Verizon complaint about T-Mobile 4G LTE advertising


Hot on the heels of AT&T filing a complaint with the National Advertising Division (NAD) over T-Mobile’s claymation holiday video, a decision  on another NAD complaint related to T-Mo has come out.

The NAD has issued a compliance report on a Verizon complaint about T-Mobile’s 4G LTE advertising, which covers three aspects: network speed, network age, and network coverage. When it comes to network speed, the NAD was concerned that the crowdsourced data referenced by T-Mobile might’ve been unfairly biased in T-Mo’s favor due to data deprioritization policies.

In its report, the NAD says that the data used by T-Mobile to make its “fastest 4G LTE network claim” doesn’t suffer from the same potential bias. T-Mobile’s new claim was based on speed tests from Q2 2017 while the NAD was concerned about results from Q1 2017, which is when Verizon customers may have first experienced data deprioritization due to Verizon’s new unlimited plan. The second quarter would not be the first time those customers experienced deprioritization, the NAD explains.

Additionally, OpenSignal reexamined speeds for T-Mobile and Verizon to exclude user-initiated tests and use only random background testing. It found that the difference in the background results and the published results were not materially different. Ookla Speed Test was used during the dat when there was no network congestion and no deprioritization, and those results also showed that T-Mobile’s network was faster.

When it comes to network age, the NAD believes that tweets from T-Mobile CEO John Legere are advertising and that his tweets about Verizon’s network “crumbling” and “declining” with images of deteriorating buildings should be discontinued. The NAD asked T-Mobile not to use such messages in the future.

Finally, the NAD determined that T-Mobile’s advertising about network coverage was in line with the group’s recommendations. The NAD says that T-Mobile’s new coverage did not compare the percentage of Verizon customers that it covers and instead made coverage claims regarding specific areas (“covering all of Baltimore”) alongside a coverage map.

Verizon originally complained that T-Mobile’s advertising was based on speed test results that were slow as a result of deprioritization. Verizon took issue with T-Mobile’s claims that its network was “newer” and “faster” than Verizon’s “older” and “slower” network and that T-Mobile covered 99 percent of the area covered by Verizon.

The NAD recommended in September 2017 that T-Mobile discontinue claims that T-Mo’s network is newer and faster, that Verizon’s network is older and slower, and that T-Mobile covers 99.7 percent as many people as Verizon so that it’s clear that that stat is based on coverage population and not geographic coverage.

Verizon then told the NAD that T-Mobile was not complying with the NAD’s recommendation, but T-Mo said that it was advertising that it had the fastest 4G LTE network because it was using newer speed test data.

That all leads us to today, with the NAD saying that T-Mobile has ultimately complied with its recommendations. That’s a result that I’m sure T-Mo is glad to hear because it means that its advertising is cleared and that this particular interaction with the NAD is behind it. You can read the NAD’s full report, NAD 6117, at the link below.

Source: ASRC

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  • Chris


  • tonyfatex

    Verizon thought they had T-Mobile by the NADs

    • MichaelSt

      Oh, you almost had it. Gotta be quicker than them.

    • MichaelSt

      Well played, sir. haha!

  • BOOM

  • Jason Caprio

    I have a lot of respect for John Legere. He has single handedly turned the mobile industry into a more customer friendly market by making T-Mobile better than it has ever been and inciting serious competition with Verizon and AT&T. However, there are still standards which need to be adhered to when it comes to truthful advertising. Saying Verizon’s LTE network is “old” and T-Mobile’s network is “new” has no basis and those who are uninformed in mobile technology will believe such lies.

    Yesterday in northern NJ, I speedtested 255MBit/sec with my work-provided Verizon on my Google Pixel 2 XL. Their network is doing just fine.

    T-Mobile is doing great things, but John needs to be a bit more professional sometimes. T-Mobile won’t be the underdog for much longer at this rate, and soon we will have a “Big 3” which may stifle competition in the near future.

    • bkat11

      Well T-Mobile adhered and the case is closed

    • Jason

      This is really bad advice and proves you’re out of touch with the market. It’s an inevitable consequence of aging though. Love it or hate it, people want realness and attitude. PC does not sell these days. There is a direct correlation between John’s master marketing abilities through social media etc and the massive net customer growth it has achieved

      • Spanky

        John Legere’s behavior and antics seem extremely contrived. It’s a marketing technique that’s about as real as real as the Kardashians.

    • Sharti24

      Tmobile will never catch Verizon or Att in amount of customers.

  • blokeinusa

    Verizon didn’t like it because Tmo was using the words “newer” in conjunction with “faster” which NAD asked them not to use…maybe if tmo uses the words “state of the art” and “quicker”, then verizon wouldn’t have an issue with it.

  • steveb944

    So they just want Legere to be nicer on Twitter.

  • SirStephenH

    But T-Mobile’s network IS newer and faster and Verizon’s IS older and slower. The passage of time and speed tests both prove that. So does NAD/Verizon just want T-Mobile to not tell the truth?

  • Angel

    What the!? NAD does NOT have the power to tell John Legere what he can and can’t write on HIS twiter. Freedom of speach and-what-not. Since that is HIS account. They can have a say on the advertisements made by T-MoUS but that is his personal account. So as long as he fallow Twitter terms, there is no problems. Or what they’re gonna forbid me from complaining about some $1,000+ bill of overcharges a friend of mine got on ATT, that was never fixed even though it was wrong on their ends? Among other things. Mind you I know of overcharge problems with all four big companies.

    As for the “newer” and “older” thing. It is a FACT. Saying: “Verizon’s network is one of the oldest on the market” is not a false sentence. Have they upgraded, build newer, better network? Yes. But they are still a lot older than T-Mo. Just like AT&T (one of those “T” stand for Telegraph, that should give an idea of how far back it goes) Wile T-Mo USA is relatively new by comparison. This alone allow for the “Verizon is old, T-Mo is new” to be said. Its not false, its wordplay. Furthermore. T-Mo is actually newer in most areas. Specially considering that in some of those areas there was not 4G or ever service a couple of years back. Hell even now they are installing new things everywhere to increase coverage where others already had.

    I seriously don’t understand what is NAD problems with T-Mo. Only thing I can think of is someone been close to Verizons and ATT pockets. Or at least have some interest. Where were they with all the other truly false advertisement. Like Verizons Balls few years back. Or the massive amount of misleading ads made by Sprint? I rarely read about NAD, but when I do is about something that they are clearly on the wrongs.