Sure Mobile Ads Banned for Claiming to be Jersey’s Fastest Network

advertising standards authority uk 2016

A complaint by JT (Jersey Telecom) has prompted the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to ban a “misleading” Facebook and website advert for mobile operator Sure, which claimed to be both “Jersey’s fastest mobile network” (mobile broadband) and also “officially the fastest in the Channel Islands.”

Sure used an old 2017 study by CICRA (Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authority) to support their claim. Meanwhile JT challenged this by highlighting the results from another more recent test of their own 4G network, which appeared to show that JT was faster.

However the ASA ruled that neither piece of research was completely convincing and ultimately upheld the complaint.

ASA Ruling (REF: A19-548111)

While the report did show that Sure’s average download speeds were faster than their two largest competitors (including JT), we noted those speeds were captured in July 2017. The report was not designed specifically to capture fastest network speeds, nor was it a guarantee of future fastest speeds.

We noted the testing which JT had relied upon to challenge the claim. We did not accept that this testing was superior to the testing conducted by CICRA, given the lower coverage areas and the fact that it was user-initiated through a specific mobile app. However, we acknowledged that the results contrasted starkly with those captured in CICRA’s report. We considered that called into question the age of the CICRA report and its use by Sure as a basis upon which to make fastest speed claims given that it was not specifically designed to capture fastest network speeds.

We acknowledged that ad (a) referred specifically to CICRA’s report and consequently gave consumers information about the basis upon which they had made the claim. However, for the reasons outlined, we considered that the report was no longer a sufficient basis upon which to make the claim. Because of that, we concluded that the claims that Sure were the fastest mobile network operator in the Channel Islands were likely to mislead.

As usual the ASA banned the original advert and told Sure “not make claims that they were the fastest network in the Channel Islands unless they held up-to-date documentary evidence to demonstrate that was the case.”

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