T-Mobile has been going after Verizon over the big red carrier’s 5G network in advertisements and on Twitter. But today the National Advertising Division (NAD) recommended that T-Mo should discontinue some of its marketing related to Verizon and 5G.
The NAD, a group that offers self-regulation of advertising in the US, has recommended that T-Mobile discontinue some of its 5G advertising. This decision comes after some of T-Mo’s 5G advertising claims were challenged by Verizon.
Verizon challenged a T-Mobile ad starring Bill Nye that says, “Other carriers have 5G signals that drop if you move two feet.” The NAD recommends that T-Mo discontinue the claim because it says there’s no evidence that Verizon’s 5G coverage is so limited in any area that it only covers a bench. The NAD also says that T-Mo’s disclosure — “A slight exaggeration, other 5G signals can cover whole blocks!” — contradicts its main claim and is insufficient to cure the misleading message.
Another claim that was challenged is that T-Mo 5G offers service in locations where customers usually experience a coverage gap, like basements or elevators. It was undisputed that T-Mobile’s low-band signal can penetrate walls, but the NAD says there’s no evidence of the extent to which it can do so or whether it offers coverage in places where cell service is challenging. And so the NAD recommends that T-Mobile discontinue these claims or modify them to more clearly disclose its 5G performance.
Verizon also took issue with a video comparing T-Mobile 5G and Verizon 5G in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium ahead of the Super Bowl. The NAD recommends that T-Mo discontinue these videos because it didn’t show that the performance of Verizon depicted was typical for Verizon customers and because one of the demos implies that T-Mobile’s 5G network consistently provides no signal loss, decrease in signal strength, or reversion to 4G.
Finally, the NAD recommended that T-Mobile discontinue the claim that its 5G service is more reliable that its competitors’ 5G. While the NAD says that T-Mobile’s evidence backed up its claims about having better coverage, the NAD did not accept T-Mo’s argument that better coverage means better reliability.
There was one claim that the NAD didn’t feel should be discontinued, but it did recommend a modification. The NAD says that T-Mobile backed up its claim that its 5G is faster than its 4G and its competitors’ 4G, but that the claims also convey metrics that “will change our lives in really big ways” and about reliability. The NAD thinks that T-Mo should modify its claims to more clearly state how 5G is superior to 4G like it did with speed.
T-Mobile says that it’s disappointed with the NAD recommendations that some of its ads be discontinued. It plans to appeal the NAD’s decision.