To AT&T's chagrin, Verizon's 'fastest 5G in the world' claim checks out

To AT&T's chagrin, Verizon's 'fastest 5G in the world' claim checks out
Verizon may not have the "most powerful" 5G network in America, according to a ruling made by the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) last fall in response to a complaint originally filed by AT&T, but at least for the time being, Big Red's "fastest 5G in the world" claim can stand.

Once again, AT&T challenged its arch-rival's bombastic marketing, and although the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs did make certain recommendations for Verizon's future 5G speed-centric commercials, Ma Bell's current "concerns" were largely rejected.

That means this particular case will most likely not be elevated to the NARB, which is the appellate unit of the advertising industry's system of self-regulation that more often than not needs to settle these issues as the NAD generally tends to side with the accusers rather than the accused.

5G availability and 5G speeds are two different matters


For the umpteenth time in the last two years, Verizon's controversial 5G Ultra Wideband network is in the limelight. The state-of-the-art mmWave-based signal has made more headlines than this writer can count on all his fingers and toes... for both good and bad reasons.

The good, of course, are the mind-blowing download (and upload) numbers select customers can squeeze out of supporting mobile devices in certain parts of certain cities. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of Verizon subscribers across the nation, said strength is completely negated by the technology's inherent coverage weakness.


But that's not what AT&T challenged, and while the National Advertising Division did find Verizon's 5G UW availability figures to be quite pitiful (our words, not theirs), speeds are an entirely different thing.

As proven by multiple independent reports, Big Red can indeed provide faster 5G service than all other major carriers in the world, and although such a speedy signal is not exactly easy to come by, some people can in fact take advantage of this super-advanced technology with a bit of luck and a lot of perseverance.

All you need (or rather needed as of October 2020) was to be located in the exact "parts" of one of the 55 cities (partially) covered by 5G Ultra Wideband and own one of Verizon's best 2021 phones. In that case, the operator's "narrowly tailored comparative speed claim" could be considered truthful, even if only for a very small portion of the time spent connected to a cellular service.

Verizon's nationwide 5G launch started a whole new ballgame


The reason why the NAD's statement on this contentious matter of potentially inflated and misleading 5G publicity covers a period of time up until October 2020 obviously has to do with the big T-Mobile-rivaling "nationwide" 5G rollout of, you guessed it, October 2020.

Because Verizon is using something called Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) to... barely match its traditional 4G LTE speeds, the carrier will have to "carefully craft its comparative 5G performance claims" going forward to make clear that "fastest 5G in the world" refers only to its limited Ultra Wideband service.


If history is any indication, that's... probably not going to happen, and if we were to guess, something tells us Verizon may have already made an exaggerated or dubious claim in ads hyping its nationwide low-band 5G deployment.

Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile are likely to continue their three-way advertising war in addition to their battle for 5G and overall wireless industry supremacy, and hopefully, commercials will one day become clear and honest enough that the NAD and NARB's involvement in these conflicts is no longer needed. Then again, world peace might prove easier to achieve than that.

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