Comcast Appeals National Advertising Division Recommendation to Modify or Discontinue Certain Advertising Claims for Xfinity Mobile
New York, NY – March 16, 2023 – In a challenge brought by AT&T Services, Inc., the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs recommended that Comcast Cable Communications Management, LLC:
- Modify claims that its Xfinity Mobile service is the “fastest mobile service”;
- Discontinue its “most reliable,” “highest ranked,” and “best network” claims for Xfinity Mobile; and
- Clearly and conspicuously disclose that an Xfinity Internet subscription is required for Xfinity’s mobile service.
Comcast (under the Xfinity Mobile brand) provides cellular service that piggybacks off Verizon’s cellular network to existing Xfinity home internet customers. Customers of Xfinity Mobile can obtain service through the Verizon cellular network but can also connect through WiFi if they are within range of their Xfinity home internet WiFi or one of Xfinity's public WiFi hotspots.
“Fastest Mobile Service” Claim
Regarding Comcast’s “fastest mobile service” claim, NAD found that Xfinity Mobile has the fastest combined WiFi and cellular speeds, but those speeds are only available within Xfinity’s WiFi footprint.
Further, NAD determined that the unqualified superiority speed claim reasonably conveys the message that the benefit is available wherever consumers use their mobile service, and therefore consumers may reasonably take away the message that so long as they have Xfinity mobile service—whether they are connected to cellular or WiFi—they will be able to experience the advertised fastest speeds across Xfinity’s entire mobile network. NAD recommended that Comcast disclose the material limitation that a consumer may only experience faster speeds on WiFi or in the Xfinity WiFi footprint.
NAD concluded that the disclosures in the challenged advertising do not adequately inform consumers of the circumstances under which the “fastest mobile service” claim is true and recommended that Comcast modify its advertising to clearly and conspicuously disclose that its “fastest mobile service” is based on combined WiFi and cellular speeds and that the claim is true only within its WiFi footprint or when connected to WiFi.
“Most Reliable” Claims
NAD recommended that Comcast discontinue its “most reliable” and “highest ranked” claims because the evidence in the record was not a good for fit the challenged claims.
NAD noted that nothing in its decision would prevent Comcast from making claims about the reliability of its WiFi network, so long as those claims are supported and do not convey the message that those claims also apply to its cellular network.
“Best Network” Claim
The “Best Network” claims appears on the Comcast webpage which states, “Choose from the best devices on the best network.” Underneath this headline is the sentence, “Ready to join the first mobile network that’s designed to save you money? It starts here.”
NAD noted that the “best network” claim is broad and unqualified and because Comcast did not provide any evidence to support the range of superiority messages conveyed by its “best network” claim NAD recommended that it be discontinued.
Requirement to Purchase Xfinity Internet Claim
NAD also considered whether Comcast’s advertising conveys a message that consumers can purchase Xfinity’s mobile service regardless of whether they are Xfinity Internet customers. As NAD has noted in prior cases, the fact that a cellular service can only be purchased if the consumer also subscribes to a residential internet service is a material limitation that must be disclosed.
NAD determined that the disclosures in the challenged advertising were not sufficient and therefore recommended that Comcast clearly and conspicuously disclose that Xfinity Internet is required.
In its advertiser statement, Comcast stated that it “will appeal NAD’s decision because it believes that the challenged advertising conveys truthful messages about the unique benefits of the Xfinity Mobile service, delivered through the combination of two networks.” Further, the advertiser expressed concern that NAD’s decision is inconsistent with previous cases addressing similar claims and noted its disagreement with certain conclusions made by NAD.
Appeals of NAD decisions are made to BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate-level truth-in-advertising body of BBB National Programs.
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