The ASA had received complaints from the likes of Vodafone and Three UK that questioned EE’s claims that it had “the number one network for 5G”

Today, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has issued a ruling banning a number of historic 5G-related ads from EE.

The investigation was initiated after the ASA received complaints from Vodafone, Three UK, and a member of the public, who disputed EE’s advertising claims that the operator owned the ‘UK’s No.1 5G network’.

The complainants primarily argued that the adverts did not make the metrics behind their claims of superiority clear enough for consumers, either by not including the relevant information or not adequately directing consumers towards further information.

Ultimately, the ASA upheld the majority of these complaints, saying that several adds “did not provide sufficient information to allow consumers to understand the comparison”, while in others “the amount of information provided about the testing methodology was not sufficient”.

As a result, the ASA has banned the ads from being used again – a task that will not be too arduous for EE, since the last time the ads in question were used was August 2020.

“The ads must not appear again in the form complained of. We told EE Ltd to ensure that the basis of any comparative claims was presented clearly. We also told them to ensure that ads provided sufficient information to enable consumers to verify comparisons with identifiable competitors or adequately signposted consumers to such information,” read the ASA’s ruling.

Why it took so long for the ASA to complete its investigation is unclear, but the ruling coming almost three years after the ads were last used means it amounts to little more than telling EE to be more careful in future.

Clashes between the operators over advertising claims of 5G superiority are nothing new. Back in 2020, Three saw a number of its adverts banned due to the misleading nature of its slogan ‘if it’s not Three, it’s not real 5G’. That same year, the ASA also banned a number of ads from EE, finding fault with the company’s claim that their 5G network was ‘unrivalled’ and ‘unbeatable’, as well as claims of being the UK’s ‘No. 1 network’.

In somewhat related news, the ASA also banned some adverts from ISP 6G Internet, saying that the combination of the company’s name and advertising could lead customers to believe they could purchase 6G mobile services, which do not yet exist.

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