T-Mobile will not claim to have a more reliable 5G network after the billboard decision


T-Mobile has been asked to stop advertising its 5G network as more reliable than the competition by the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), which has investigated T-Mobile’s allegations mainly in an ad with the famous scientist Bill Nye investigated Verizon’s complaints earlier. year.


However, the NARB also says that T-Mobile does not need to mention the speed of its network when it talks in detail about coverage in future ads. T-Mobile said it would comply with the recommendation. But it included the recommendations as a partial victory in a statement that it “appreciates that the panel has agreed that T-Mobile can continue to advertise its superior 5G coverage without qualification.”

The compliance of T-Mobile is remarkable because telecommunications giants do not have to follow the recommendations of the NARB, which as a self-regulatory body under the umbrella of a non-profit organization has no government power. For example, AT&T completely ignored a request to stop using its misleading “5G E” logo to refer to a superior form of 4G.

Today’s NARB decision breaks in part with the recommendation of the National Advertising Division (NAD), the other half of the self-regulatory body that oversees telecommunications advertising in the US. (The NARB is the appeals division, which is meant to resolve disputes that arise when a company makes a recommendation, as T-Mobile did.) The NAD reigns in August that T-Mobile should disclose the speed of its network if it claims that its 5G network offers excellent reliability. T-Mobile appealed and kicked the decision to the NARB, resulting in a slightly more favorable outcome for T-Mobile.

The video in question, one of several starring Nye after being appointed by T-Mobile to be a king of the brand’s 5G spokesman, contains Nye’s claims that Verizon’s 5G coverage, because it is based on mmWave technology, has an equally large equivalent up to about the size of a bus stop. Because T-Mobile used much slower but more reliable low-band 5G, its network had more reliable coverage, while also claiming excellent reliability compared to 4G.

‘Other carriers have 5G signals that drop when you move two feet. This is because their 5G is based on a millimeter wave, also known as a high band. This is, for example, how far 5G is with our transport companies, ”says Nye in the video and shows a small red circle around a bus stop outside with mannequins. New then shows how the arm of one of the mannequins holding a smartphone from inside the red circle to the outside would change the coverage from 5G to 4G.


The NARB says that T-Mobile “must stop demands and an accompanying demonstration that indicates that 5G coverage of other carriers is so limited that it only covers the space occupied by a single bank.” The board also recommends that T-Mobile ‘end allegations that its 5G service is usually available in places that have traditionally had a challenge for cellular service’, unless it is prepared to say what speeds it has in those places can achieve. Lastly, T-Mobile cannot imply that its 5G coverage is more reliable than 4G coverage, its own or that of competitors’ networks.

Here is a more in-depth explanation of the NARB’s how it came to the conclusion that T-Mobile’s claims were misleading:

The NARB panel has determined that T-Mobile’s reliable claims are understood as comparing its 5G network with 4G networks, and that this message cannot be supported on the basis of coverage as the 5G network of T-Mobile does not equal or exceed its own 4G coverage. those of competitors. Furthermore, the panel concluded that the claim that T-Mobile’s low-band 5G signal is more reliable than competing 5G signals should be evaluated in this context with at least some insight into off-coverage network performance. Because T-Mobile does not provide such support for its 5G network reliability claims, equity or otherwise, the panel recommended that T-Mobile’s 5G reliability claims be discontinued.

Much of this is based on semantics, which arises from how messy and confusing the 5G rollout was in the US. Because 5G is distributed across different wireless bands, each with its own trade-offs between coverage and speed, the large American telecommunications industry has gone to great lengths to make their own networks better than the competition. This often coincides with the same ads trying to disguise the complexity of the type of 5G being delivered and how substantially different from 4G.

This has led to quite a few advertising disputes between major telecommunications companies, with T-Mobile and Verizon clashing in advertising and in complaints to bodies such as the NAD / NARB. By the time most consumers actually use 5G, which requires them to have a newer phone and live in an area with reliable coverage, most of these pointless advertising disputes are likely to be forgotten.


But that will not stop these businesses from locating each other’s ad spots for any slight difference they may find, nor will it stop the same companies from complaining about inaccuracies to likely hawk one of their own in the future.


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