If you've been following the sluggish progress of the US wireless industry at the dawn of the 5G era these past couple of years, you probably already know how complicated it can be to determine which of the nation's major carriers has the edge
in terms of overall network performance.
There are not just many different ways to judge that
, from 5G speeds to combined 4G/5G speeds
, latency, 5G availability, reach, video, gaming, and voice app experience, but also huge geographical distinctions to take into account as far as the actual 5G technology deployed by Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T is concerned.
All the confusion and subjectivity surrounding the US 5G
scene have given birth to bombastic advertising claims from every direction and seemingly endless quarrels between the top three mobile network operators on the misleading nature of many of their commercials.
Largest 5G network - check! Fastest 5G? Not so fast!
In a nutshell, that's what the NAD decided after carefully analyzing Big Red's long list of damning accusations, rejecting a few while upholding many.
First and foremost, T-Mobile (and T-Mobile subscribers) will undoubtedly be pleased to hear that the operator's "largest 5G network" claim has become "undisputed" after last year's Sprint takeover
and all subsequent low and mid-band rollouts
, expansions, and upgrades.
Unfortunately for the "Un-carrier", Verizon's spotty but blazing fast mmWave-powered 5G Ultra Wideband signal
requires T-Mo to clarify that any and all claims of speed supremacy refer to "average, overall combined" 5G numbers registered across the nation.
Put simply, T-Mobile
needs to discontinue or modify such clear-cut advertising statements as "fastest 5G network", "the leader in 5G coverage and speed", and yes, "the leader in 5G." Additionally, claims that "no one else covers more Americans with the fastest 5G" and even the well-known "best value in wireless" slogan will have to go... unless, of course, Magenta is thinking of filing some sort of appeal, which doesn't seem to be the case at the moment.
Verizon definitely won this battle, but the war will rage on
While T-Mo unsurprisingly "disagrees" with "certain" aspects of the latest NAD ruling, its plan is to comply with all recommendations, which largely equates to admitting defeat (for once) in a marketing duel with Verizon
What's a little problematic is that a few of the NAD's recommendations don't seem to apply solely to long-forgotten commercials, as is often the case in these types of matters.
Instead, T-Mobile is being asked to remove several claims challenged by Verizon from its own website, and unless Magenta chooses to defy the National Advertising Division, we expect to never see those slogans used in this form again.
For what it's worth, T-Mo will be allowed to continue drawing parallels between its 5G network and Wi-Fi speeds without having to add any sort of disclaimer or asterisk. Besides, while it doesn't quite have the same ring to it, modifying the "fastest 5G network" claim to something along the lines of "fastest average 5G speeds nationwide" should still highlight the undeniable advantage
currently provided to millions and millions of users over the competition