The National Advertising Department has discovered that some of the home internet claims made by T-Mobile are supported; Recommend to modify or stop others

PR Newswire

New York, March 17, 2022

New YorkAnd the March 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs has determined that T-Mobile United States of AmericaUnlimited Data’s claim about its home internet service was not misleading. NAD also found that T-Mobile’s ads did not reasonably convey a disparaging message of competing cable Internet providers, including Challenger Charter Communications, Inc.

National Advertising Division (NAD) (PRNewsfoto/National Advertising Division, B)

However, the NAD recommended that T-Mobile:

  • Stop claims that T-Mobile Home Internet provides customers with consistent speeds of more than 100Mbps or modify its claims to provide truthful and accurate information about the speed or range of speeds that its customers can consistently experience.

  • Edit the “Best Speeds” claim to indicate that “Best Speeds” are limited to those speeds available to T-Mobile Home Internet customers.

  • Edit the “5G Internet” claim to state that home Internet service is available on either a 5G or 4G LTE network and avoid implying that all T-Mobile Home Internet customers will always receive a 5G signal.

T-Mobile Home Internet is a relatively new service launched by T-Mobile to provide home internet to customers. Unlike cable and fiber, which connect to homes via a land line, T-Mobile Home Internet wirelessly connects to a customer’s router through a 4G or 5G network. This allows consumers to access the Internet without a land line. Since your home Internet connection subscribes to the T-Mobile cellular network, the speeds consumers experience may be affected by the number of people using the cellular network through a process called deprioritization.

100 Mbps Claim

In response to a question on their website “What speeds can I expect from T-Mobile Home Internet?” The advertiser claims that “many” of its users will experience average download speeds of over 100Mbps and typical download speeds of 35-115Mbps, with speeds varying depending on location, signal strength, availability, time of day, and other factors.

NAD found that T-Mobile reasonably conveyed the message that a large number of customers would achieve average speeds of over 100Mbps. NAD concluded that, in the limited history of this action, T-Mobile did not have support for the intercepted 100Mbps claim. Therefore, NAD has recommended that such claims be discontinued or amended to provide truthful and accurate information about the speed or range of speeds that T-Mobile Home Internet customers can consistently experience.

Claim “best speeds”

In response to the question on the T-Mobile website “Can I buy a high-speed service?” “We do not offer tiered rates based on speeds at this time,” the advertiser says. “T-Mobile Home Internet customers automatically receive the best available speeds from the service at their home address. With better speeds available, customers will experience them automatically, at no additional cost.”

NAD has found that consumers may reasonably dismiss the message that they will get the best available speeds on the T-Mobile network among all T-Mobile customers, when this is not the case during times of congestion, given T-Mobile’s priority cancellation policies. Accordingly, the NAD recommended that the advertiser amend this claim to clarify that the “best speeds” are limited to those speeds available to T-Mobile Home Internet customers.

Claim data caps

NAD pointed out that data limits and de-prioritization are two different concepts, where deprioritization refers to reducing a client’s speed and data limits which refer to a limit on the amount of high-speed data a client can use before speed or data limits are imposed.

NAD found that while T-Mobile de-prioritizes home internet customers during busy times, it has no data caps. Therefore, the DPI decided that the advertiser’s claim of “no data restrictions” was not misleading.

5G Claims

NAD determined that the message reasonably conveyed by the advertiser’s “5G Internet” claim, in context, is that 5G Internet is available to all eligible T-Mobile Home Internet customers. Furthermore, NAD found that an advertiser’s disclosure that some consumers may get 4G LTE only (“T-Mobile Home Internet connects to the awesome 4G LTE or 5G network that T-Mobile smartphones runs on, depending on the availability of the signal at your address.”) Qualification”):

  • insufficient to alert consumers that they may only be able to access the 4G LTE network;

  • It goes against the message that customers will have a “5G internet”; And the

  • Not clear and prominent.

The NAD also concluded that the advertiser’s disclosure of 5G availability at the point of purchase was not sufficient to remedy the misleading message that consumers will be on a 5G network.

Because T-Mobile Home Internet does not provide 5G service to all of its customers, NAD has determined that it has not provided a reasonable basis for the “5G Internet” claims. Accordingly, the NAD recommended that the advertiser amend the “5G Internet” claim to explain that its home Internet service is available on either a 5G or 4G LTE network and avoid implying that all T-Mobile Home Internet customers will always receive a 5G signal.

Long-term contracts and explosive billing claims

NAD considered whether T-Mobile is making implied claims that cable internet service providers, including Charter, require long-term contracts and explosive bills, compared to T-Mobile’s home internet service.

NAD notes that nothing in the objectionable ads mentions Charter or any cable company whatsoever. NAD determined that these allegations did not reasonably convey a derogatory message that the charter required long-term contracts and explosive billing, and therefore, these allegations were not misleading.

Finally, in the course of the action, T-Mobile voluntarily discontinued the claim for “average speeds over 100Mbps for most customers,” as well as some comparative pricing and speed claims against Spectrum Internet. NAD has not reviewed these allegations in terms of substance.

In the advertiser’s statement, T-Mobile stated that it “agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations.” The advertiser noted its appreciation for NAD’s decision that the “no data limits” claim was not misleading and that its claims of “no long-term contracts” and “no explosive bills” are not misleading or degrading. T-Mobile further stated that while it did not agree with NAD’s conclusion regarding the “5G Internet” claims, “we continue to support the self-regulatory process and will take NAD’s recommendations into account in future announcements.”

Decision summaries of all BBB national programs can be found in the Case Decisions Library. For the full text of the NAD, NARB, and CARU decisions, subscribe to the online archive.

About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses go to boost consumer confidence and the consumers’ voice is heard. The nonprofit creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better consumer experience by developing and delivering effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of the Best Business Offices in June 2019Today, BBB National Programs oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulatory programs and continues to advance their work and increase their impact by providing business guidance and promoting best practices in areas such as advertising, child-oriented marketing and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.

About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulatory and dispute resolution services, directs the credibility of advertising across the United States, reviews NAD national advertising in all media, and its decisions set consistent standards for declaring truth and accuracy, providing meaningful consumer protection and court action. .

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