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

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.

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



1. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1603; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

I don't know about other parts of the country, but T-Mobile CANNOT match Verizon in the Midwest. They have improved greatly, but still fall short of Verizon in speed tests, and coverage isn't nearly as good. Not to mention the random buildings and basements with no coverage that Verizon works fine at. Yes I know coverage and speeds vary by location, but my region Verizon is king, AT&T isn't far behind, T-Mobile works well if you're above ground and not rural, and Sprint... well you might as well use a tin can and string.

4. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

When you said Midwest, please elaborate.. State and City..I am in Missouri both KC and St.louis ..I can tell you that I get 80 down 95% of the time.

12. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1603; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

I had tried T-mobile for about half a year on their prepaid, 09/16 to 02/17, and kept a line on Verizon at the time. Never saw more than 40 to 45 down with T-mobile, Verizon varies wildly from around 20 to about 110 down. I will admit in my home T-mobile had faster data. Living in the Fargo, North Dakota area in town T-mobile works with the exception of some of my friends basements and a few large buildings, usually brick. Verizon has worked every place I've ever been in this city. I traveled to Bismark a lot, few miles west of Fargo and T-mobile had no coverage along I-94, oddly a small part of Bismark had coverage but not most of the city. Rural towns and back roads near Fargo, no T-mobile coverage. Again Verizon works in all of those places the entire time. Heading into MN and going to the Minneapolis metropolitan area, T-Mobile works well on I-94, but there's over 150 miles of very rural land and anywhere I went more than say 10 miles off the freeway, no T-mobile coverage, or very spotty. Verizon was fine. Near Minneapolis T-mobile works well, but then heading down towards Red Wing, Rochester, Winona, etc in south east MN, very spotty and terrible coverage. I also spend time in northern MN, western WI, and occasionally SD, IA, and northern IL. But did not test T-mobile in those regions. I have Verizon because between ND, SD, MN, WI, IA, IL I have only found a few places I don't have coverage. I was a T-MOBILE customer prior, but it's been about 5 years since I switched to Verizon. I like the peace of mind knowing where ever I drive my car, even on no maintenance roads in a farm field, I have coverage.

13. blkkobra

Posts: 44; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

Have you tried using postpaid T-Mobile Service? After working there for 6+ years, I can tell you that there is a difference. I've used both and I have found that in some areas where T-Mobile postpaid customers have service, their prepaid customers do not. The data speeds on their prepaid service also have a cap as to reserve bandwidth for postpaid subscribers. So unless you're comparing Verizon prepaid service to your experience, it's not really a fair comparison.

15. ozgur781sen

Posts: 37; Member since: Mar 11, 2015

The network coverage & speed also depends on the device. I have both Galaxy S7 Edge and iPhone 7 Plus Location: Planet Fitness Parking Lot Middletown, DE 19709 Devices: Galaxy S7 Edge: 100+ Mbps Down & 25Mbps to 50Mbps Up. iPhone 7 Plus50Mbps Down & 15Mbps up. Also, the T-Mobile version of the iPhone 7 and Plus's have the Intel modem and they suck in signal coverage and speeds. If you want an iPhone I suggest you get the unlocked version with the Qualcomm modem from the Apple Store or online. The reason for higher speeds and better coverage on Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is due to the glass back and Band capability of the device. For example, if you get the Galaxy S4 or the iPhone 6 both of these devices will not get the coverage because they do not have the required hardware to connect to the bands T-Mobile has. My friend has the iPhone 6 and while we were on a road trip to Washington D.C. his phone kept on dropping signals and we had replaced his phone from the Apple Store many times too, while my Galaxy S7 Edge was always on 5 bars and my iPhone 7 Plus was always between 3 to 4 bars hardly stayed at 5 bars due to the metal back which makes it harder for the signal.

28. tuminatr

Posts: 1175; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

I can vouch for what he is saying in MN,ND,SD,WI and the upper peninsula of Michigan. I live in Saint Paul,MN and Have a job where i travel for a living in the five state area from personal experience I can tell you Verizon is much faster here. Now if T-Mobile and Sprint merge the additional bandwidth will probably change that.

29. bigdawg23

Posts: 467; Member since: May 25, 2011

Like you I have spent a lot of time near the areas you mentioned. T-Mo struggles. I have both AT&T and Verizon 7 Plus phones. IN the recent months in the MSP area, Verizon and AT&T are neck and neck. I get 70-100 on both networks.

8. izim1

Posts: 1614; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Here in DFW, north texas, verizon is easily and by far 3rd behind AT&T and T-Mobile as far as LTE speeds go. Only beating sprint. Which isnt much of accomplishment.. cant blame high traffic congestion either because AT&T does just fine.

19. PhoneInQuestion

Posts: 496; Member since: Aug 20, 2017

In Arlington none of these carriers (Including T-Mobile which I use) matter over one another, at most I get baseline 4G and LTE as long as I am in a very specific area of the building(s). I have to switch my phones modem to 3G/4G only to save battery.

11. g2a5b0e unregistered

Please. Speak for your particular part of the midwest. This article is about speed, not coverage. In that arena, T-Mobile beats Verizon in the Detroit area.

20. Bigg6987

Posts: 14; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Definitely agree on Detroit. T-mobile is the best around here

24. shaneg79

Posts: 4; Member since: Oct 01, 2017

I live in the Midwest Southeast Kansas actually and I have a couple worker who has Verizon and I have services in areas they don't and my data is faster too. I have TMobile.

26. technitude

Posts: 263; Member since: Dec 19, 2013

L0n... I hate when people appear to have knowledge of all 4 networks firsthand. I know lots of people have 2 with a work and personal network, and some with a spouse or child on a third, but your tin can comment about Sprint undermined your whole comment. That's because if it worked that poorly who would use it? People love making comments like that, but it's not true and through you're whole comment from science to bias, slander and trolling. I live and travel throughout the mountains of the West. And I am often on the boundaries of network coverage (including Verizon). Verizon fails in parts of Wyoming and Montana, where their map shows coverage, also in Colorado ski resorts, same thing. Ironically Sprint's map shows no coverage, yet we were able to send texts. Verizon didn't have calling, texting, nor data, in an area clearly red on their map. I also travel national and international (Central America and Europe) - I never know why this is consistently ignored by everyone. In Panama and Costa Rica, Sprint and T-Mobile include coverage Verizon had not last I checked. In fact, T-Mobile's included coverage area would cover well over a billion people, Verizon... maybe 300Million. Verizon does allow you to buy more international coverage area, but it's cheaper to buy a local phone and plan than to do that. And that's ridiculous.

2. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1186; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

Still don't get it...... If data is crowd-sourced, what should it be? Lab tested? By who?

3. razmahtaz001

Posts: 501; Member since: May 11, 2013

wtf? verizon starting to sound like apple LOL

5. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

Just ran a speed test 115 Mbps down and 40 Mbps up KC.. On TMobile..

6. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

That is faster than my Tmo speeds in GA on average I get about 50 down and 10 up, but my speeds are also faster than VZW at least in my county that is.

7. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Never trust Dutche Telekon (t-mobile).

9. belieber1996

Posts: 6; Member since: May 27, 2013

I must admit, T-Mobile can't beat Verizon and AT&T in Northern California in terms of speed and coverage, especially since I've had all three networks.

10. rebretz

Posts: 116; Member since: Dec 26, 2011

I live in Johnstown PA which is a small city east of Pittsburgh and T-Mobile is on average faster than Verizon here. On Verizon i average 20 mbps down and only 5 mbps up. On T-Mobile I get 35 mbps down and 15 mbps up. I don't remember what I got on AT&T but ever since both Verizon and AT&T rolled out their advanced networks around here their coverage is worse than T-Mobile.

14. speedingcheetah

Posts: 97; Member since: Jul 22, 2017

Tmobile is the fastest network! in my tests tmoblie kicked VZW every time. i never had any issues with signal on tmobile but there is a few dead spots still on vzw in my area(Minneapolis, MN) where data speed in non existent. but of course there is gonna be rural areas where VZW has better signal than any one else...or some other carrier is better. thats the way its always been

16. mike2959

Posts: 699; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

I’m 25 minutes outside of Cleveland Ohio. TMO is terrible. Literally no service at my house at all. I just got a sim 2 days ago to try it. When you do have a signal it jumps around like crazy.

17. youlookfoolish

Posts: 193; Member since: Dec 14, 2012

T-Mobile is trash. Their subscriber growth slowed significantly in their last earnings call and their churn is up. Crowd source that, Legere.

23. andynaija

Posts: 1267; Member since: Sep 08, 2012

If your going to call them trash make sure you post some sources to prove your point, otherwise you're just typing a bunch of rubbish making yourself look foolish, as usual.

18. PhoneInQuestion

Posts: 496; Member since: Aug 20, 2017

I've used all four main carrier networks here in Texas (Sprint for my first work phone, Verizon for the other two work line network), and even though the super stadium is sponsored by AT&T let me tell you, NO carrier has the kind of signal penetration they brag about. You can't trust a god damn thing these corporations tell you about how reliable your phone is ANYWHERE. Obviously, in some areas the coverage is better but I will be damned if I drain my battery using LTE radios that have to work twice the capacity of a North Korean detention camp detainee just to revert back to 3G. I can only bare using Vanilla 4G, or my phone loses 5% battery. Again, it depends on where your network coverage extends here in the states, but I do not have great reception on any network. It's how much I am willing to put up with.

21. Derekjeter

Posts: 1573; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Bro!! T-Mobile will continue to be a s**tty service, stop pretending that it’s fast and reliable. If that was the case they would give so much free s**t to blind people of the obvious spotty network

22. Darkkracker

Posts: 255; Member since: Jun 11, 2016

T-Mobile sux most places I go and never ever works in building s

25. MoonlitTear

Posts: 52; Member since: Jun 09, 2008

Walmart Chico Calfornia. Right outside, and it's off HWY 99. Verizon Gal S8 Unlocked Honor 8 Verizon was getting anywhere between 23-47 Mb/s. T-Mobile was consistently getting 51-76 mb/s. I work in the connection center, and my Dept Mgr has Verizon so we test a few times /week. T-Mobile is also faster in my apartment compared to my roommates Verizon iPhone 6s. (complete opposite side of town).

27. Sirgma

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 01, 2017

I am on T-Mobile after 15 years with Verizon, in most cases T-Mobile is as good a Verizon, but Verizon is still better. I will not go back to Verizon, because T-Mobile has a better price. Verizon is just too expensive.

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