National Advertising Division Finds Certain Claims for T-Mobile Home Internet Supported; T-Mobile Appeals Determination That Certain Claims Were Unsupported
New York, NY – January 23, 2023 – In a challenge brought by Comcast Cable Communications Management, LLC, the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs determined that T-Mobile USA, Inc.’s advertising for T-Mobile Home Internet (T-HINT) provided a reasonable basis for its price lock claim and concluded that other challenged claims did not convey false or misleading messages.
However, NAD recommended that T-Mobile:
- Discontinue claims that T-HINT is “fast” or “high-speed” or modify its advertising to avoid conveying a message that T-HINT will be “fast” or “high-speed” for all T-HINT customers.
- Discontinue claims that T-HINT is “reliable.”
- Modify its advertising to avoid communicating several monadic and comparative implied claims with respect to T-HINT performance.
NAD determined that the main message conveyed by the claim that with T-HINT “your price is locked in” is that T-Mobile will not increase the monthly price charged to customers for T-HINT service. Because T-Mobile has not increased the monthly price charged to T-HINT subscribers since the introduction of the “your price is locked in” claim, NAD found this claim supported.
“Fast” and “High-Speed” Claims
T-HINT customers experience a range of speeds. NAD determined that T-Mobile did not provide sufficient evidence to conclude that all T-HINT customers receive speeds above the Federal Communication Commission’s standards for high-speed broadband internet and thus did not provide a reasonable basis of support for its “fast” or “high-speed” claims.
NAD found that, in context, T-Mobile’s claims that T-HINT is “reliable” may convey the messages that T-HINT customers will maintain a dependable internet connection and that T-HINT consistently delivers fast speeds and service without disruption. NAD determined that T-Mobile did not provide a reasonable basis to support these messages.
Implied Performance Claims
NAD found that unqualified claims that T-HINT is “fast,” “high-speed,” and “reliable,” convey a message that T-HINT customers will consistently receive fast speeds. To avoid conveying this message, NAD recommended that T-Mobile:
- Modify its advertising to avoid implying that all T-Mobile customers receive consistently fast speeds; and
- Modify its T-HINT speed range claims to include the percentiles of T-HINT customers to which any stated speed ranges apply or disclose that many T-HINT customers will experience slower speeds.
To distinguish T-HINT from wired internet service and avoid conveying a message that T-HINT is not subject to factors that cause internet performance variability on mobile wireless networks, NAD recommended that T-Mobile modify its T-HINT advertising to clearly and conspicuously disclose that:
- T-HINT provides internet access through a mobile wireless network; and
- T-HINT speeds vary due to factors affecting mobile wireless networks.
Further, to avoid conveying a message that T-HINT customers will receive the same or better speeds than T-Mobile wireless customers at all times, NAD recommended that when T-Mobile makes express or implied claims about T-HINT speeds, it clearly and conspicuously disclose that T-HINT subscribers may experience slower speeds than T-Mobile customers during times of network congestion.
NAD also found that the claim “Breaking up with your provider is easy” did not convey a false or misleading message that T-Mobile’s Home Internet subscribers will receive internet speeds and service comparable to competing home internet service providers.
During the proceeding, T-Mobile voluntarily permanently discontinued several challenged savings claims and a testimonial. Therefore, NAD did not review these claims on the merits.
In its advertiser statement, T-Mobile stated that it “will appeal parts of NAD’s decision,” based on its belief that NAD erred in its determination that the challenged “fast,” “high-speed,” and “reliable” monadic claims for T-HINT are not supported.
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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