Back in February, we told you that AT&T had filed a complaint against fellow carrier T-Mobile with the National Advertising Division
(NAD). The latter is administrated by the Better Business Bureau and is "an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation." AT&T was unhappy with some claims that T-Mobile made in some of its advertisements, and today the NAD recommended that T-Mobile stop calling itself the "Best Unlimited Network."
The NAD checked out claims made by T-Mobile in its ads including "T-Mobile is America’s Best Unlimited Network;" "Video typically streams at 480p. On all T-Mobile plans, if congested, top 3% of data users (>32 GB/mo.) may notice reduced speeds due to prioritization. Does not depict coverage;" and "Welcome to America’s best unlimited network." Also examined was whether that last statement was implying that T-Mobile has the best overall network or best coverage.
In its defense, T-Mobile provided data from Ookla's Speedtest intelligence database and OpenSignal. The data, according to T-Mobile, was the proof it needed to make its claims. For example, for the third quarter of last year, the data from Ookla showed T-Mobile to have the fastest LTE download and upload speeds in the U.S.. And OpenSignal's second 2017 report showed T-Mobile on top for 4G and 3G Download Speed, Overall Download Speed, 3G Latency and Availability
. AT&T was first in 4G Latency, beating out T-Mobile by 1.45 milliseconds. Both Ookla and OpenSignal use crowdsourced data obtained through an app installed by smartphone users.
The NAD said that T-Mobile did not provide evidence that it has a superior network in terms of talk and text, and that it offers a more reliable service and greater coverage. T-Mobile responded by saying that consumers consider "The Best Unlimited Network" to be the one with the fastest data speed. And the NAD returned the volley by saying that there is no evidence from T-Mobile that consumers consider speed over reliability and coverage when deciding which provider to subscribe to.
"In the absence of specific evidence showing that network speed is paramount in the minds of consumers, NAD determined that the advertiser’s speed, latency and 4G signal reliability evidence was insufficient to support T-Mobile’s broad network superiority claim and recommended T-Mobile discontinue its “Best Unlimited Network” claim."-NAD
With all of this in mind, the NAD made its recommendation, which of course upset T-Mobile. The carrier plans to appeal the recommendation to the National Advertising Review Board.
While we don't know all of the T-Mobile ads that AT&T objected to, we do know that one of them was the Claymation ad from the 2017 holiday season. If you haven't seen it yet, or if you want to view it again, simply click on the video at the top of this story.