National Advertising Review Board recommends changes to T-Mobile Home Internet’s ‘fast’, ‘broadband’ and ‘reliable’ claims

A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the call advertising body for national BBB programs, found that T-Mobile’s express claims of “fast”, “broadband” and “reliable” for T-Mobile Home Internet (T-HINT) are supported, but recommend some modifications to the claims so that consumers understand the context in which they will receive Internet service and the type of performance to expect through T-HINT.

T-HINT provides home Internet access through the same wireless networks that T-Mobile provides its cell phone service.

T-Mobile appealed NAD’s recommendations in (Case #7140) to discontinue or vary its “fast” and “high speed” claims and to terminate its “reliable” claim for T-HINT. The ad at issue had been challenged by Comcast Cable Communications Management, LLC.

The NARB panel concluded that T-Mobile provided a reasonable basis for its express “fast” and “high-speed” claims because T-Mobile uses the data to respond to its product disclosures required by the FCC and a corporate officer. from T-Mobile has certified that T-HINT is only sold to customers who will receive download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps. The panel also concluded that its express monadic “reliable” assertion was supported by evidence on the record.

However, the NARB panel found that “high speed” or “fast” claims imply that consumers will experience speed performance similar to the experience consumers have with wireline broadband service that provides consistent speed with little variation – a message that was not supported as mobile home internet technology introduces substantial variability in fast speed in network performance, unlike wired internet speed performance.

In addition, the NARB panel determined that T-Mobile’s “reliable” claim implies service reliability similar to that of wired home Internet service, which requires more robust support than that provided by T-Mobile.

Therefore, the NARB panel recommended T-Mobile:

Change its claims of “fast”, “broadband” and “reliable” home Internet service to clearly and prominently disclose that T-HINT provides Internet access via a mobile wireless or cellular network and that T-HINT speeds vary due to factors affecting mobile wireless or cellular networks; and Amend its speed range claims to include the percentiles of T-HINT customers to which the stated speed ranges apply.

T-Mobile said it appreciates the NARB Panel’s “careful consideration and determination that T-Mobile has provided a reasonable basis and reliable support for its express claims ‘that T-HINT is ‘fast,'” high speed” and “reliable”. and that, while disagreeing that “these express monadic claims supported” require additional information in order to avoid implying consistent speed and reliability claims, T-Mobile supports the process of self-regulation and will consider NARB’s recommendation in future advertisements”.

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