Ad watchdog group tells T-Mobile to stop calling its 4G LTE network faster than Verizon's

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Both T-Mobile and Verizon have made claims in their ads that their 4G LTE network is the fastest in the U.S. Both can't be right. So when T-Mobile said in an advertisement last year that its LTE pipeline was faster than Verizon's LTE network, Big Red filed a complaint with the National Advertising Division. Part of the Better Business Bureau, the NAD reviews national ads for truthfulness. After reviewing the situation, the NAD ruled that T-Mobile should stop claiming that it has the fastest 4G LTE network.

For its part, T-Mobile relied on crowd-sourced data compiled by apps offered by Ookla and Open Signal. Verizon argued that the information provided by the apps is only a subset of all smartphone users and that only sophisticated smartphone owners bother using apps like Speedtest to measure their data speeds. Verizon also argued that the crowd sourced data presented by T-Mobile included Verizon customers who were at the end of their monthly billing cycle, and were the subject of deprioritization after consuming more than 22GB of data for the month. Big Red said that its rival's claims were based on the over sampling of these throttled Verizon customers.

The NAD researched two statements made by T-Mobile. One was the claim that T-Mobile's 4G LTE network is the fastest, and the second was T-Mobile's comment that it covers 99.7% of the Americans covered by Verizon. The NAD ruled against T-Mobile as far as the speed claims is concerned, agreeing with Verizon that those speed tests have a bias in favor of T-Mobile. As a result, the agency recommended that T-Mobile no longer make claims about having the fastest 4G LTE network on its advertising. The NAD also suggested that T-Mobile stop claiming that its 4G LTE network is newer than Verizon's 4G LTE pipeline, and that Verizon's network is older than T-Mobile's network. The nation's third largest carrier had dropped the ads with the speed claims once Verizon filed with the NAD.

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As for the question about coverage, the NAD ruled that T-Mobile did have a reasonable claim about covering 99.7% of the Americans covered by Verizon. But T-Mobile did admit that it does not offer 99.7% of the geographic coverage offered by Verizon, and the NAD recommended that T-Mobile refrain from using maps and other imagery that makes it appear as though the coverage figures are based on geography rather than population count.

While T-Mobile did say that it "agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations," the carrier said that it once again reviewed the third party data obtained from the Open Signal and Ookla apps and concluded that "...T-Mobile is still the fastest LTE network… and we’ll continue to let consumers know that." Verizon was happy to hear about the ruling, stating that T-Mobile's claims were "based on cherry-picked data."

The only thing that we can say with any degree of certainty is that this is one battle that is far from being over.

Check out one of the disputed ads run by T-Mobile by clicking on the video at the top of this story.

source: ASRC via FierceWireless

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