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EE Gets Three UK’s Misleading “most reliable network” Advert Banned

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016 (8:35 am) - Score 1,118

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a press advert for Three UK’s mobile network after rival EE and a member of the public both complained that the operator’s claim to offer “the undisputed. UK’s most reliable network” was misleading.

The advert, which first appeared on 28th October 2015, featured the YouGov logo in the bottom left-hand corner. Three UK argued that consumers would see that logo in the ad and understand that the claim was based on the findings of a YouGov report (‘The Smartphone Mobile Internet eXperience‘).

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However the report only reflected the results of a subjective consumer survey and even Three UK admitted that “there was no standard, objective industry test for network reliability” and that “reliability was not an easily measurable variable and meant different things to different people” (this is what we’d call a shoot yourself in the foot moment). The ASA agreed.

ASA Ruling (REF: A15-318391)

We noted the findings of the YouGov SMIX report, but concluded that because consumers would understand the claim “The undisputed. UK’s most reliable network. Again” to be based on objective measures of network reliability rather than subjective consumer opinion, the claim as it would be understood had not been substantiated and was likely to mislead.

Additionally, because we understood that there were no commonly agreed objective measures of network reliability against which Three had undisputedly scored higher than their competitors, we concluded that the claim “The undisputed” as used in the context of the ad was also likely to mislead.

As usual the ASA told Three UK that it had been a very.. very naught boy (or purple #MakeItRight puppet) and to stop being so naughty in the future. The watchdog said that in future Three UK shouldn’t say that such claims are “undisputed” unless there were commonly agreed objective measures for network reliability and ones where they had actually come out on top.

The ASA also told Three UK not to state or imply that they were the UK’s most reliable network “unless they made clear that the claim was based solely on a survey of consumer opinions“, although even then we still think that such a claim would be very questionable. In the meantime we imagine that Three UK has been asked to stand quietly in the corner and face the wall.

Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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