T-Mobile recommended to stop claiming it has a more reliable 5G network


Once again, the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) has asked T-Mobile to stop making claims on the reliability of their 5G network. The decision of the board comes after Verizon made complaints on the claims made by T-Mobile on an ad launched this year. 

The ad, featuring Bill Nye, received flak after T-Mobile claimed that their 5G network was more reliable than their competitors. In the video, the celebrity scientist says this line before making a demonstration using mannequins:

“Other carriers have 5G signals that drop if you move two feet. That’s because their 5G is based around millimeter wave, otherwise known as high band. For instance this is how far 5G reaches with our carriers.” 

Nye pointed out that T-Mobile’s 5G network had a more reliable coverage compared to Verizon’s mmWave technology since they use low-band 5G. 

The board said that T-Mobile doesn’t need to mention the speed of its network when discussing coverage superiority in any of their future ads. The board recommended that T-Mobile should “discontinue claims and an accompanying demonstration that imply that other carriers’ 5G coverage is so limited in any area as to cover only the space taken up by a single bench.”

T-Mo accepted the recommendation and promised that they will comply with it by saying that it “appreciates that the panel agreed that T-Mobile can continue to advertise its superior 5G coverage without qualification.” 

Here is the explanation of the board on its recommendation:

“The NARB panel determined that T-Mobile’s express reliability assertions would be understood as comparing its 5G network to 4G networks, and that this message cannot be supported based on coverage, as T-Mobile’s 5G network does not equal or surpass its own 4G coverage or that of competitors. Further, the panel concluded that, in context, the claim that T-Mobile’s low-band 5G signal is more reliable than competing 5G signals should be evaluated with at least some insight concerning network performance beyond coverage. Because T-Mobile offered no such support for its 5G network reliability claims, parity or otherwise, the panel recommended that T-Mobile’s 5G reliability claims be discontinued.”

Just to be clear, the NARB is a self-regulatory body operating under a non-profit organization. It is not part of the government, which means it has no regulatory power to make such decisions. T-Mobile’s compliance with the board is notable since AT&T previously ignored the board’s recommendation to stop using the misleading “5G E” logo. 

Earlier this year, the NARB also took issue with T-Mobile’s TVision ad; to which T-Mo agreed to comply with their recommendations.


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  • riverhorse

    From personal experience T-Mo much more reliable than Verizon here in the Northeast. AT&T not even worth mentioning, no other provider exists.
    In whose pocket is this NARB?

  • Joe

    T-mobile works good in Michigan but Verizon worked a lot better.

    • AA-Ron

      I be their 5G is better.

    • Acdc1a

      T-Mobile is the combination of many wireless carriers in Michigan. Verizon outside of Detroit sucks.

  • Jason Caprio

    Verizon is quickly rolling out 5G on 850, 1700/2100, and 1900 bands. T-Mobile is not the only carrier with a “layer cake” now. So yes, this advertisement is false now. Not to mention, Verizon is completely shutting off their legacy CDMA 3G/1X networks at the end of this year to free up even more spectrum for 5G and LTE which will need to co-exist for at least a few more years until everybody gets on a 5G device.

    • Sharti24

      Has tmobile officially announced when they’re shutting down their 2G/3G network?

      • Jason Caprio

        Not that I know of, but a quick google search I found that T-Mobile plans to shut down 2G by the end of this year, and 3G by the end of next year. I suppose it’s about time. Anybody not on VoLTE probably has a phone from 2012!

        • Sharti24

          I heard Jan 31, 2021 for both 2G/3G. We’ll see

    • mikkej2k

      Isn’t Verizon using spectrum sharing technology allowing 5g to share with 4gLTE which slows down Verizon’s LTE?

      • Jason Caprio

        Considering my average speed with Verizon on my Pixel 4XL is around 150Mbit/sec on LTE lately, I’d say it’s not affecting it negativity at all.

        • Shaun Michalak

          But it is as you said.. LTE.. From what I have read, and reviews and articles I have read.. The way that Verizon 5G is set up is like this.. First, they send data to 4G devices.. Then what is left goes to 5G.. So say you are getting 150 down on 4G.. It could be possible that you may only get 50 on 5G due to 4G congestion.. I think it has to do with Verizon’s 5G still relying on 4G for service.. This is why T-Mobile is splitting their stuff into 4G and others for 5G service, and not using the same stuff for both..

      • Shaun Michalak

        Yes.. T-Mobile says, hey, we have 30mhz of band 71, and we are designating 20mhz to 5G and 10mhz to 4G.. Verizon says, hey, we have 30mhz of band 13 to use, and that same 30mhz will work for both 4 and 5G networks.. So if they are using 5mhz for 4G, then that leaves then able to use 25mhz for 5G.. But if someone is using 28mhz for 5G use, then that will only leave 2mhz for 4G.. It is shared spectrum.. But the other thing that I have seen is.. Unless they changed it.. Verizon’s 5G still relies on the 4G LTE core to work.. They have to because they do not support VoLTE type of technology on their 5G network, so they have to go back to 4G to be able to use talk and data at the same time.

  • Shaun Michalak

    It all depends on where you are at.. I have seen places that T-Mobile was better, and others were Verizon was better.. and yet other places where AT&T was better..