T-Mobile advised to be careful of using “aspirational” 5G ads

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T-Mobile is currently facing complaints about its ‘aspirational’ ads. 

According to the report, the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs recommended the Un-Carrier to make changes to its advertising claims. In particular, it pointed to the claims of imminent availability of promoted benefits to customers that come from the merger between Sprint and T-Mobile. Apparently, AT&T Services, Inc. challenged T-Mobile’s claims of having “the best 5G network”, the “most reliable 5G network”, and the “best prices” for its 5G service. These claims appeared on TV and radio advertisements before they were discontinued in July last year. 

Based on its findings, NAD determined that the advertisements did not convey the promised benefits that will stem from the merger and that these would be available to consumers. Even though T-Mobile made some commitments to the government as part of its merger request, the integration between the networks of T-Mobile and Sprint will not be completed in the next three to six years. 

The agency noted that T-Mobile was unable to support its claims that they have the “Best Network” or will even soon provide “the most reliable 5G network.” T-Mobile was unable to present any evidence on metrics that support its claims in network speed and reliability. As for its “best price” claim, NAD determined that T-Mobile did not provide evidence or commit to maintain its currently low prices in the future. 

Because of this, NAD recommended that T-Mobile modify its challenged advertising claims and avoid using such messages. 

T-Mobile responded to this in its advertiser statement and promised that it “will comply with NAD’s decision… given that the ads in question stopped airing in July 2020.” T-Mobile also released a statement that it “strongly disagrees” with the agency’s view of its “aspirational goals not only as claims requiring substantiation, but as guarantees.”

 

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  • riverhorse

    Can this monkey, bought off NAD point us consumers to who has the best present service overall and most widely, if it doesn’t believe TMo best right now? It’s supposedly looking out for us, so we would like to be helped in choosing the best service.
    I sample all the major carriers while on the road- I’d be the last person to play fanboy and suffer inferior service.

    • Shaun Michalak

      I think it all just depends on where you are at.. I have been places where T-Mobile had great service, and Verizon either had 0 or 1 bar.. But then again, I have been places that were the opposite.. There are places where T-Mobile has service, and the other 2 have none.,. and vise versa.. T-Mobile is good for having gaps in coverage with the whole, “more coverage with less towers” attitude.. But then again, maybe a lot of that will be fixed with their merger with Sprint??

      The problem is, there is no way to know for sure who will always have the best network. and we will not even be able to get a full glimpse at that until T-Mobile gets the full merger done, including the Sprint towers converted over.. and they somewhat get band 41 more fully installed.. and all 3 carriers get SA 5G with VoNR installed. It is a work in progress with all 3 companies right now..

      • riverhorse

        Very true everything you said, and I’m sure there are even areas with zero functional internet or cell service from anyone. I just reamed some dufette on IG for attacking Visible as the worst…for unintelligible phone calls (including for business) on both her and husband’s lines- for exactly your points. Both paid $25, service basically can’t perform its primary function, yet neither will switch.
        I can picture her also pushing her car off the road daily, Wilma Flintstone style.

        Verizon just committed 84B to the latest airwave auction- seems like they and TMo will dominate eventually- feel sorry for at&t.

        From personal experience, seems like with all this upgrading glitches now abound- seeing occasional dropped calls and no data on both Verizon and TMo networks.

        Overall, and off topic, I think Starlink et al will revolutionize population distributions and upend present centers of power if we can all be fully connected wherever we go.

        • Shaun Michalak

          Verizon committed 84 billion, AT&T did about 40 billion, and T-Mobile did about 10 billion.. While T-Mobile did not buy a lot, they might be (probably are) waiting for the 2.5ghz auctions that are about to start up as that can be added without any extra equipment once band 41 is already installed..

          But from the start, Verizon has no spectrum above 2ghz, AT&T has about 20 mhz, and T-Mobile has all of that from Sprint.. So AT&T did not have to buy as much to keep competitive, because they did that a while ago.. The thing is, AT&T has their 2ghz+ frequency already installed.. T-Mobile is in the process of installing theirs.. and as for this new 3ghz spectrum.. First, they say it is going to be about a year, at the soonest, before they can start using it.. Plus you are still going to need 2 other things.. It installed.. and people with a phone that can support it..

          Since no current phone supports the 3ghz range, and most people do not have a 5G phone, it is going to take time, both in the installation, and design and production of a new phones.. Not to mention how people love to hold on to phones that they like.. Heck, until they were forced off, there are still people using 3G phones from 10 years ago..

          But then again, it also makes me wonder just how efficient this is going to be.. For example, if you have towers in rural areas, mountainous area, etc and they depend on the low band for coverage.. Just what percent of that coverage is actually going to be able to get that 3.7+ghz 5G service??

        • riverhorse

          Thank you for all your explanations, so much stuff there I had absolutely zero clue about.
          Rural may always remain the stereotypical poor country cousin, but I trust at least they’ll have something from someone this time- whatever it may be, even if not 3.7 I worry more about remote power options.

        • Shaun Michalak

          Personally, I think that T-Mobile actually has the best frequency for wide use.. I know what the difference is that I see with a standard cordless phone.. One is 2.4ghz, and the other is 5.8 ghz.. When I use them, going through walls in the house and stuff.. I get 2 to 3 times the distance of use with my 2.4ghz phone then my 5.8.. It is because of the signal degraded from the walls and stuff.. Now I understand that these numbers are more of a difference then cell towers.. But, 2.4 is really close to T-Mobiles 2.5ghz that they are using for 5G.. and if I notice that much of a difference going to 5.8ghz, then I can imagine how much of a difference there will be knowing that what they just got in the C band spectrum is close to 4ghz..

          That would leave to me believe that you can expect about 50% more reliable coverage from 2.5ghz then 3.7 to 4ghz in the recent auction.. Yea, they may have slightly slower speeds.. But if you think about rural coverage and how far the towers are apart in the country.. A lot more people are going to be able to jump off of the 2.5ghz then 3.7 to 4ghz will..

          For in city use, where towers are close together, or say they wanted to install it in a stadium, I would say that the 4ghz would work fine.. But I just do not see people getting good speeds from it far away from the tower, in rural areas..

          This means, more people would have to rely on the current mid band spectrum that they have used for 4G service, and low band away from the towers for Verizon customers.. This will really effect customer speeds in rural areas.. This makes it better for both T-Mobile and AT&T customers, since AT&T has about 20mhz of 2ghz spectrum that they are using too. Verizon is the only one lacking in this area.

        • riverhorse

          I’m really excited for rural because at least they may now get a signal, and at min.~ low double digit MBs, + the new satellite internet is coming.
          UNLESS if you think “in practice” it won’t mean much- like in resort area peak times where cellular data is so overwhelmed it’s unusable (and just even a thin tent type of outdoor enclosed eating area can block signal almost totally), and maybe the satellite signal is degraded by heavy clouds weather patterns.

        • Shaun Michalak

          One thing I am wondering about.. Are they waiting to get things more settled and bugs worked out before they start installing in rural areas??

          I know that T-mobile has talked about using the band 71 return line for confirmation of data, so that they could use the band 41 speeds for downloading, and if there is not a good enough connection on band 41 to get a signal back on the phone, they could use the lower frequency band 71 for return data.. This way, they could get more people on the band 41 line for faster speeds..

          I am wondering if things like that.. They are getting worked out to work good before they really start installing it in rural areas.. After all, in cities, that is not as big of a concern since towers are so close together.. If so, I do not think I could blame them for not installing it in rural areas yet.

          and yes, satellite internet is coming.. But from everything I have seen, it is limited.. Great for someone that travels a lot.. But the 2 downsides I have seen to satellite internet are.. First, higher costs.. Second.. Lower overall speeds vs what is capable using something like band 41..

        • riverhorse

          They may be very small samples but
          1. I think some located way outside any cities reported on here they’re getting 5g @ 25-35mb where before they had no usable data
          2. Starlink beta customers reporting glowing performance 23 ms ping, 100mb speeds. Musk just added that all will have ~ ½gig speeds later this year

          Any partnership between a cellular carrier and a satellite provider might be world dominant?

        • Shaun Michalak

          They might get a partnership.. But you have to take into consideration that they might be getting those speeds now, off of the satellites.. But, that is with almost no users on them.. Add in the congestion of hundreds of users off of that one satellite, and speeds are going to drop dramatically.. Not much different then cell carriers.. The difference.. In cities, you might have 12 towers sharing the same spectrum off of each to get better speeds.. But a satellite, one dish is going to do that whole city, and areas around it too. You will have 1 connection, where when you have 12 towers, that means 12 times more capacity for the same amount of spectrum.

          I read an article not too long ago where one of the companies stated right out that this service was “not” intended to compete with cable companies.. They said that they just do not have the bandwidth off of a single satellite to even try to compete.. Rural customers, out in the country, where you might have a city block or more in between houses it will work great for.. or for people that travel, or use very little data.. But for the gamer and people who are downloading 4k movies constantly.. Not so much.

  • James Symmonds

    Currently visiting Seattle, their hometown. The network sucks here! I had better luck back home in KC last year during the Superbowl parade.

    • mreveryphone

      Aye!! KC!

  • marque2

    This BBB board seems rather over the top. Any company that wants to highlight anything “can’t” because some other company with lesser service complains. Seems like a boon to the competition.

    Could you imagine if this happened with cereal or Beer:

    BBB Press release: – Kellogg’s company should no longer use Tony the tiger’s key phrase “They’re Great” in regards to frosted flakes because of noted issues with the product. These include many not having a preference for frosted flakes, and there are are concerns about the added sugar content, therefore the pronouncement “They are great” is misleading to the consumer, since they are not universally great and should be stopped.

    • TheTruthIsOutThere

      Kellog’s is also great with their factory ammonia spill in San Jose.

      • marque2

        IIIIIIIIt’s Great!

    • Shaun Michalak

      Well, what about spectrum’s advertisements.. The fastest starting speeds for the price.. VNet here has starting speeds of 300mb up and down for $60.. Spectrum’s current price is $70 for 100 down, 10 up.. $5 more if you want wireless.

  • Jason Caprio

    The difference between the way Verizon and T-Mobile market.

    T-Mobile: We’re going to have the best network
    Verizon: We currently have the best network

    For years, T-Mobile has telling us how amazing their future will be, and how they’re doing upgrades, etc. Verizon usually doesn’t say a word until the product is fully operational and rolled out.

    Bottom line. It’s false advertising to promote a potential future product’s functionality rather than promote what is currently available.

    • marque2

      I take issue with your complaint. They exceeded the reliability of Sprint and AT&T several years ago, and in several metrics are on par with Verizon. I think I will report you to the BBB for not making fully substantiated claims.

    • Shaun Michalak

      I can not really agree with that.. When T-Mobile posted that, the add stopped airing in July of last year.. Almost a year ago.. Verizon only had mmWave installed at that time.. So yea, they could say, “most reliable nationwide network” or “Have the best nationwide 5G network”, because Verizon did not have any at that time..

      T-Mobile worked within the details.. They never stated that they “had” a reliable 5G network, or the fastest speeds on a 5G network.. They would say things like, We have the “largest”, or most reliable nationwide 5G network (which if course, if you are the only one with it, then it has to be the most reliable)..

      I personally find it ironic that Verizon has ZERO standalone 5G, no VoNR, and no dedicated spectrum for midband 5G, and no high speeds (better then current 4G speeds) off of midband, which T-Mobile has all 4, yet Verizon is the one saying “5G done right”. Granted, T-Mobile only has all 4 where they have band 41 installed.. But still, they do have it in certain areas..

      Looking at it that way, is Verizon really any better?? Looking outside of mmWave, how is Verizons 5G service beating T-Mobile in any area where T-Mobile has 5G fully installed with band 41 too?