T-Mobile Appeals Rebuke of “Most Reliable” Claims


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T-Mobile US, Inc. has appealed the National Advertising Division’s (NAD’s) recommendation that it discontinue claims it has the most reliable 5G network, according to third-party testing company, umlaut. The claims, which appeared in two television commercials and internet advertising, were challenged by AT&T Services, Inc. The NAD is a division of BBB National Programs.

In support of its superior 5G network reliability claim, T-Mobile used the results of an audit report conducted by umlaut, which used crowdsourced data collected from mobile phones by software that operates in the background of apps downloaded from the Google Play app store.  

T-Mobile stated that it “is disappointed with and will appeal NAD’s decision.” Further, the advertiser referenced umlaut’s determination that “T-Mobile’s 5G network is the most reliable 5G network in the United States” and stated that “like other similarly situated advertisers, T-Mobile should be able to advertise this independent award. Because T-Mobile strongly disagrees with NAD’s recommendation that it not do so, it will appeal NAD’s decision.”

Such appeals of NAD decisions are made to the BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate-level truth-in-advertising body of BBB National Programs.

In its recommendation to T-Mobile, NAD noted that umlaut’s scoring for 5G, which tested two coverage metrics and one speed metric, was insufficient for backing the network reliability claims. While NAD agreed that speed and coverage are important to consider when talking about 5G network reliability, speed and coverage alone cannot support a reliability claim.

For these reasons, NAD found that umlaut’s methodology for testing the reliability of 5G networks was not a good fit for T-Mobile’s “most reliable” 5G network claim because the data used for analysis was conducted on both 5G and non-5G networks and the metrics used did not accurately measure reliability. NAD recommended T-Mobile discontinue any and all express and implied claims that T-Mobile is the “most reliable 5G network” according to umlaut.

By J. Sharpe Smith Inside Towers Technology Editor

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