T-Mobile slammed by advertising pundits for misleading ads against AT&T


T-Mobile and AT&T haven’t been total strangers after the two failed to get a merger proposal approved by the government. The two have been at it ever since, with the bitter-sweet breakup making for entertaining advertorial spats. As fun as all of that has been, someone has stepped in to chastise T-Mobile for being a bit too careless with their advertising.

The National Advertising Division — a fork of the Better Business Bureau which helps to ensure fair and accurate advertising practices — has warned T-Mobile to modify their advertising to be more clear. To be specific, the NAD says T-Mobile’s claims that their 4G network is 50% faster than AT&T’s is too misleading, and suggests they make it clear that T-Mobile is referring to the performance of each respective carrier’s HSPA+ network (and not the 4G LTE network AT&T is currently impressing us with).

The NAD also wants T-Mobile to stop saying they use more advanced network technology than all the others, though this is something that can be seen as subjective and probably isn’t of too much concern. T-Mobile CEO John Legere says not to worry, as the changes suggested by the NAD aren’t significant enough to change their overall “bold” marketing tone. It’s the latest look for T-Mobile, a carrier which was once seen as soft (the magenta doesn’t help) but is now standing up to the big guys.

It’s worth noting that the NAD is not a regulatory body, and as such does not have any direct authority to force T-Mobile to make any changes to their marketing. Still, their long-standing history and connection to the Better Business Bureau are to be respected, and not many companies will want to be on the wrong side of their naughty or nice list. We imagine T-Mobile will take heed to the NAD’s words, but don’t expect the overall brash, new attitude to be dialed down anytime soon.

[via CNet]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Good. Now about that LTE expansion… I liked it when they expanded their HSPA. I was on Tmo when they did that and watched it get better.

    Now I’m hoping the same can happen for their LTE. Or are they waiting and are going to surprise us with LTE Advanced?

    1. T-Mobile LTE is all over the place these days.

      1. Yes and no. There are some places where I get weak connection. However, the lowest I’ve ever gotten on LTE is 5Mbps. That’s still great to me.

        So even though the connection is low at my friend’s apt, if I leave it by his patio I can still tether and play my online games just fine. =.3

        That’s my only complaint. I’m actually pretty content with their data speeds.

        First world problems.

        1. I’ve noticed their LTE is much better at getting into buildings than their other networks. So even a weak LTE signal has made a big difference to me in certain buildings. Its all looking good for magenta.

      2. Yeah.. ALL over, oh, except if you’re not in a major city

        1. It’s a good thing then that most people live in cities vs the boonies, and by 2030 it’ll be 6 in 10 people in cities. Cities are more efficient in many ways.

          1. Yeah! Screw those 40-50% and all the lies we’ve told about rural broadband in order to secure the spectrum! Morons should pile up together in the big cities like us important people!

          2. Yer dern tootin’!

          3. Don’t have good coverage where you live? Don’t get it. The per-person cost of adding coverage to the sticks is not worth it. Keep only to the places where people actually live and keep costs down while providing better coverage than any other carrier.

          4. Great job making bad assumptions. The other 3 carriers have 4g coverage of some sort here. TMobile has 2g.

            So.. at least here, TMobile sucks.

          5. They might have “4g” coverage but is it actually faster than T-Mobile’s 2g? doubtful

          6. Now you’re just being plain ridiculous

          7. The other three carriers don’t have $30 unlimited text and data plans contract free with networks that support all nexus devices ever made. Unfortunately the only way to continue that is to ignore that millions of square miles in this country with very very very low population density. T-Mobile is designed for urban and suburban folk only. That’s just how it has to be to offer the prices that they do.

          8. So which way are you going to have it then? It’s “all over” or it isn’t?

          9. Just dont have a job that sends you anywhere outside a city, dont ever travel outside a the city.

          10. Very, very true. I rarely have dropped T-Mobile off LTE on my Nexus 4. And I do a lot of traveling. Not to mention HSPA+ 42. So, for me at least, I don’t see it as ever being an issue.

          11. I don’t want T-Mobile to cover the boonies. I avoid going there. Keep powering forward with your amazing city focused network! It’s a winning strategy and keeps costs down.

          12. Arrogant ignorant elitist attitude.

        2. Tmob is great In northeast between boston and NYC. Which is where I am. But yes, leave the towns around 91 and 95 and your SOL 2g. Which isnt really any different than no g.

  2. AT&T will have a field day with this.

  3. How is this any different from at&t telling they have the largest 4g network?

    Everyone has the best something if you have enough arguments for what makes it best.

  4. Wow…scared me there for a minute. I thought my beloved T-Mobile was in trouble for lying about there coverage or something like that. I’ve been with TMO my entire smartphone life and don’t plan on changing anytime soon so I’m glad they’re not doing any shady dealings that could effect their customers as a whole. T-Mobile justs keeps getting better and faster in my opinion. On my Nexus 4 I was able to pull in over 20MBPS just walking around Chicago….now that’s what I call FAST!

    1. They should get in trouble.

      “Covered like no one else” ……. with 2G

      Then there’s this criminally (at least it should be) inaccurate and misleading faux map they love to use.

      “T-Mobile 4G has YOU covered” (as shown from my 2G only zip code)

    2. This is my pull down on T-Mobile, and I live in the sticks. Lol

  5. as a loyal T-Mobile customer…i can see how it could be misleading…and as a loyal T-Mobile customer…i dont give a damn!!! Magenta all the way!!!!!

  6. Tmobiles new marketing slogan:

    The fastest wanna-be 3G+ network. We were retro and hip with outdated network spectrum before it was cool. AT&T are just hipster posers with there so called 4G….

    Sorry if my jokes stuck. Having a few beers and waiting for GTA5 to install on the PS3

  7. “slammed”, like a butterfly landing on a child’s nose….
    more like NAD suggested that perhaps AT&T would take issue with the phrasing of a few things…

    the mobile telecom industry is FULL of outright marketing lies. Verizon’s “there’s a map for that” ad campaign? all lies (Verizon still doesn’t have proper 3G service today, never mind back when that campaign was active). 4G? doesn’t exist. going by pure FACTS, there is almost nothing (zero, zilch, nada) true about ANY of the carriers’ claims. what little truth there is in any of the marketing exists as much in T-Mobile’s claims as it does anywhere else.

  8. Every carrier makes misleading statements regarding their networks speed and reliability. Its called competing for customers. Theres always going to be people that simply believe one carriers claim over another. T-Mobile has an awesome fast network, especially at 4G LTE speeds.

    1. Every city has people who break into homes to steal other people’s belongings. It’s called making a living. There will always be people who either buy things or steal them. Thieves can be very enterprising, especially at night.

      If you learn nothing from the analogy, at least learn the grammar.

      1. I do that intentionally to irritate anal retentive, grammar nazi’s like you. Plus your analogy makes no sense at all.

  9. To be specific, the NAD says T-Mobile’s claims that their 4G network is 50% faster than AT&T’s is too misleading, and suggests they make it clear that T-Mobile is referring to the performance of each respective carrier’s HSPA+ network

    The commercial said 50% more bandwidth not 50% faster.

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  10. Does anyone really trust anything any of those wireless carrier day? Is all a load of bull. It you want to know which carrier is best for you, talk to your friends and coworkers on various networks. Can’t trust a thing those wireless commercials say.

    1. You’re right but people are generally ignorant to this type of thing as demonstrated by the poll in 2011 of 1000 phone owners who thought they already had a 4G phone:

  11. Then shouldn’t T-Mobile and AT&T stop calling LTE “4G” since that too is misleading?

    1. no, they should stop calling HSPA (which is 3G) as “4G”.

      1. the irony is that HSPA+ is faster than LTE in some locations

  12. now how about these “pundits” slam Verizon for their new 4G Map ad which has wildly innaccurate coverage maps for all 4 carriers “July 2013” LTE coverage…

  13. Actually, thats a true statement about being more advanced. They are using hardware that is using the AWS bands and will support the next gen LTE VIA firmware upgrades. VS ATT is using older hardware and will have to upgrade physical hardware in a few years when it wants to upgrade. So long term, TMO is more future proof vs ATT jumped on LTE before it was mature.

  14. If you’re on team NAD, is your cheer, “Go NAD!”?

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