Verizon’s “5G Built Right for Firefighters” Ad Declared Misleading


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While Verizon 5G is a boon to speedy communication, its advertising campaign made claims it cannot support. The National Advertising Division (NAD), a self-regulating entity within the advertising agency, has reviewed complaints submitted by T-Mobile and has just announced their findings, reports Ars Technica. Its findings agree that Verizon’s dramatic ad promoting the idea that firefighters need Verizon’s 5G service is unsupported by facts.

In a 2018 ads, against a backdrop of a blazing fire, Verizon suggested that rescue personnel would benefit from Verizon “5G Built Right for Firefighters.” In actuality, the millimeter-wave technology powering 5G Ultra Wideband would not be an asset to someone looking to communicate from within a burning building. The mm-waves can only travel short distances and can be easily blocked by walls and other obstacles in their path.  

A copy of the transcript of the commercial backs T-Mobile’s assertion that Verizon overextended the merits of its 5G service:

“When I’m going into a fire, usually when you open the door smoke is down to the ground, it’s pitch black. Time is really of the essence in a structure fire because it can mean life or death. With 5G, we’re going to be able to stream the video that [firefighters are] getting through their mask back to a command center and stitch those videos from multiple sources together to provide greater situational awareness. 5G Ultra Wideband is necessary for all of these applications to work.”

Verizon did not even have operational 5G in 2018, and even now, offers it in select parts of  metropolitan areas according to Ars Technica. The firefighter advertisement has been pulled, and it is not the only Verizon advertisement to come under fire, so to speak. Another campaign touting Verizon’s nationwide coverage is similarly misleading, according to the NAD, as 5G coverage is only available in limited areas. Verizon has also been censured for failing to provide the Unlimited service that was promised to the Santa Clara County Fire Department in California. The fire department says Verizon “throttled” service during an emergency situation, violating its own company policy.

In its announcement, the NAD “recommended that Verizon clearly and conspicuously disclose the limited availability of its 5G service.”  

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