UK MNO EE has been told it can no-longer display adverts which claim it has the best network in the UK by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
With a series of posters, websites and social media posts, EE managed to irritate Three with claims it was the best network in the UK, being ‘unrivalled’ and ‘unbeatable’. Three suggested the use of RootMetrics awards were not relevant and the small print was either absent or insufficiently prominent.
Although not all the complaints have been upheld, the ASA has stated EE is not able to claim it is the best network around without more consumer-friendly measurements, while the claim ‘Number 1. Network’ can be interpreted in so many different ways it could be considered misleading.
The ASA statement reads:
While we recognised the Rootscore [RootMetrics] report rated EE as the best mobile network operator, using various objective measures of their infrastructural network performance, because consumers could understand the claims “unbeatable”, “unrivalled” and “No.1 Network” more broadly to relate to the network operator and to take account of both objective measures of network performance and subjective consumer views of the service the mobile providers provided, we considered that EE should have made clearer that the claims “No.1 Network”, “unbeatable” and “unrivalled” related specifically to the report.
While the adverts cannot be used in their current form, and the telcos are regularly caught intentionally misleading consumers, this is one where you have to have a bit of sympathy for EE.
For those who are in the telecoms industry, the RootMetrics reports are perfectly adequate for measuring the performance of networks against each other. If EE was to make such as claim, using the report as evidence, at an industry conference, few would break stride. On performance metrics, such as download speed, availability and latency, EE does regularly feature as the best in the industry, though this is apparently not enough to validate it in the eyes of the ASA.