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JT Ads Banned for Misleading 4G “fastest network” on Guernsey Claim

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 (7:43 am) - Score 453
channel islands guernsey and jersey uk

Two press adverts and a poster for JT‘s 4G based Mobile network on the Channel Island of Guernsey have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority after they “misleadingly” claimed that the provider offered the “fastest network“. Rival operators Airtel (Vodafone) and Sure disagreed.

Each of the promotions featured bold headline claims, such as “Officially Guernsey’s FASTEST NETWORK as tested by you” and “It’s OFFICAL, your testing shows that JT is Guernsey’s fastest network.” The claims were supported by the results from a 7 week long “JT 4G Challenge“, which had encouraged locals to test the speed of their respective networks (the resulting comparison included results from both Airtel and Sure).

However Airtel and Sure complained that the claim “Guernsey’s fastest network” was misleading and questioned whether the results could be substantiated. Apparently the results were based on a total of 446 submitted speed tests (representing 273 individual users), including 50 tests from Airtel, 76 from Sure and 320 from JT.

The ASA ultimately banned all of the adverts and noted that the testing had not been strong enough in order to support JT’s claim.

ASA Ruling (REF: A16-343203)

We noted that a significant number of the results did not include a precise location. For those, however, that did include longitudes and latitudes, the tests were not evenly spread across the island but concentrated to the east, near to St Peter Port, where the speed test results achieved were often at their highest, and that the readings towards the west of the island were limited.

While we understood that the area around St Peter Port was densely populated and was where most commercial activity was concentrated, we noted that the claim was general and encompassed the whole island. We also understood that a significant minority of the island’s inhabitants lived to the west of the island. Further, although JT had not provided any data to show the distribution of the tests conducted on their competitor’s networks, given the low number of entrants from Airtel and Sure customers, we considered that the results from those customers were unlikely to be representative of the speeds achieved on those networks across the island in both more and less populated areas.

For those reasons we did not consider that the data collected was representative of the speeds customers of different networks would achieve at different times of day, at different locations, across Guernsey. Therefore, given how we considered consumers were likely to interpret the claim, we concluded that it had not been substantiated and was likely to mislead.

The related adverts were shown during May 2016 and as such the damage is long since done, but none the less the ASA banned the promotions and told JT to “ensure their comparative speed claims were based on adequate substantiation in future that was representative of the speeds achieved by users of each mobile network across Guernsey.”

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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