New York, NY - March 23, 2023 - In a challenge brought by AT&T Services, Inc., the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs recommended that T-Mobile, U.S., Inc. discontinue advertising claims that its wireless service has the most reliable 5G network according to the third-party testing company, umlaut.
Prior NAD and BBB National Programs' National Advertising Review Board (NARB) cases have established that in the context of wireless networks, at least one component of a network reliability analysis should be task completion. The 5G Transaction Success Metric in umlaut's reports conducted in May 2022 and July 2022 uses four different tests to assess whether consumers can complete different tasks on each carrier's network.
NAD evaluated whether the four tests measure reliability in a way that reflects real-life consumer experience and reflects how consumers understand reliability. After considering each of the 4 tests, NAD found that it could not determine with certainty that umlaut's 5G Transaction Success Metric accurately measures task completion in a consumer-relevant way.
NAD determined that umlaut's testing is not a good fit for the reliability claim at issue and recommended that T-Mobile discontinue its "most reliable 5G network" claim according to umlaut and all similar challenged claims.
NAD also recommended that T-Mobile discontinue the claim "Independent experts from across the industry have sent a clear message time and time again: there's one network leader and it's T-Mobile" with regards to a superior reliability message. NAD noted that its decision does not prevent T-Mobile from touting they are a network leader in respects other than reliability if properly supported.
In its advertiser statement, T-Mobile stated that it "is proud of its 5G network and the awards its network has received." T-Mobile expressed its disappointment with NAD's decision but stated that it "remains a supporter of the self-regulatory process and will comply with NAD's recommendations."
All BBB National Programs case decision summaries can be found in the case decision library. For the full text of NAD, NARB, and CARU decisions, subscribe to the online archive.
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs, a non-profit organization, is the home of U.S. independent industry self-regulation, currently operating more than a dozen globally recognized programs that have been helping enhance consumer trust in business for more than 50 years. These programs provide third-party accountability and dispute resolution services that address existing and emerging industry issues, create a fairer playing field for businesses, and a better experience for consumers. BBB National Programs continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-and-teen-directed marketing, data privacy, dispute resolution, automobile warranty, technology, and emerging areas. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.
About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.
See Campaign: https://bbbprograms.org/media-center/decisions
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