T-Mobile USA has agreed to quit claiming its 4G LTE network is speedier than Verizon Wireless’, after the Advertisement control and governing body agreed with Verizon wireless that T-Mobile’s claim was unsupported.
The National Advertising Division (NAD) “suggested T-Mobile stop proclaims that it has the speediest 4G LTE networks” and “additionally insisted that T-Mobile end claiming that its LTE network is ‘more up to date and smarter’ than Verizon’s. And also that Verizon’s LTE network is ‘more established and deep rooted,” the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council insisted in their last meeting.
T-Mobile USA agreed to comply with the NAD’s recommendations, the announcement said. The ruling and T-Mobile’s agreement to stop the disputed claims came after Verizon filed a challenge with the industry body. The self-regulatory system helps advertisers settle disputes without lawsuits and avoid stricter government regulation.
T-Mobile made the disputed claims in TV, print, and online ads, which relied upon crowdsourced speed test data from Ookla and OpenSignal. Verizon argued that Verizon customers using the speed test apps were more likely to have hit their monthly “deprioritization” threshold than T-Mobile customers doing speed tests, even though both Verizon and T-Mobile slow down heavy users when they pass certain limits and connect to congested towers.
The announcement said:
Verizon argued that the universe of users who download the Ookla and OpenSignal apps is a subset of all smartphone users that is likely to include more sophisticated consumers who are interested in monitoring the speed they experience when using their mobile device. Ookla-measured speeds for Verizon customers may have slowed at the end of their monthly billing cycle when Verizon customers reached data limits and experienced de-prioritization.
Verizon customers, who were experiencing de-prioritization for the first time during the time period for which T-Mobile USA provided crowd-sourced data, may have monitored their speeds more closely than customers of T-Mobile who had past experience with data deprioritization. Because the speed tests may have over-sampled deprioritized Verizon customers, Verizon argued, T-Mobile’s data may have misrepresented the comparative 4G LTE speeds most Verizon customers actually experience.
“Following its review, NAD concluded that the Ookla and OpenSignal Speed test results in the month after Verizon introduced unlimited data plans might have had a bias in favor of T-Mobile and as a result did not support a comparative claim that T-Mobile has the fastest 4G LTE network,” the announcement of NAD’s decision said.