US operator 5G ad spat rages on - Mobile World Live

US operator 5G ad spat rages on

14 JUL 2020

Verizon became the latest operator to face claims of false 5G advertising, arranging changes despite disagreeing with a US business watchdog over claims two of its commercials misled consumers about its next-generation coverage and speeds.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) urged Verizon to drop claims which imply its 5G service is broadly available across the country, and make clear the gigabit speeds shown in its advertising may not necessarily represent the typical customer experience.

Though the operator included a disclosure about the limited nature of its service in the TV commercials, BBB determined it was not conspicuous and failed to sufficiently qualify Verizon’s claims. It added tests depicted in the spots showing network speeds of nearly 2Gb/s lacked supporting evidence around everyday consumer use.

Verizon consented to make the requested changes, but stated it “believes strongly in transparency of customer messaging”.

BBB’s recommendations came from its National Advertising Division in response to a complaint filed by AT&T, and comes as operators continue trading barbs over 5G claims.

Verizon fended off an AT&T-initiated BBB challenge to its “first to 5G” marketing in December 2019, but in May lost a separate battle with its rival over claims about its 5G service in sports venues.

Later that month, AT&T agreed to drop its controversial 5G Evolution branding after BBB ruled on a challenge brought by Sprint.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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