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.
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.
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs
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