In an arena similar to that of an election year, telecom carriers are caught in their own battle of dueling campaigns claiming 5G dominance. AT&T was recently slapped by the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate body for BBB National Programs’ ad self-regulation program, for its use of 5G Evolution in advertisements.
According to The Wall Street Journal, T-Mobile US Inc. challenged AT&T’s use of slogans – “5G Evolution” and “5G Evolution, The First Step to 5G.” AT&T subsequently appealed the claim, but the NARB found AT&T’s claims to be misleading.
“The NARB panel determined that both claims will mislead reasonable consumers into believing that AT&T is offering a 5G network and recommended that the claims be discontinued,” the board said. “At NAD and on appeal, it was not disputed that the AT&T network is not a 5G network.”
This is not the first such claim to be brought against AT&T. In February 2019, Sprint also sued AT&T over claims of false 5G advertising.
AT&T similarly criticized Verizon over two commercials in which the carrier claimed it is “building the most powerful 5G experience for America.” Suggesting Verizon hadn’t produced evidence to support its claims, the NARB last week recommended Verizon discontinue both commercials. Verizon is appealing NARB’s recommendation.
Regarding AT&T compliance with NARB’s recent decision, The Wall Street Journal reported AT&T disagrees with the reasoning, but will comply with the ruling as a supporter of the self-regulatory process.
An AT&T spokesperson declined to say if the carrier will remove the “5GE” icon from its phones, saying NARB’s decision only applies to advertisements.