The Advertising Standards Agency has told EE to stop using some of its online advertising messages following a complaint from BT.
A number of statements on the EE website referred to ‘superfast mobile broadband’, including ‘Superfast mobile 4GEE only on EE’ and ‘our 4G network which gives you superfast, reliable internet wherever you are’.
BT challenged whether the references to ‘superfast mobile broadband’ were misleading because it said ‘superfast’ was widely understood to refer to speeds of at least 24Mbps.
Everything Everywhere (EE) said that ‘superfast’ was a descriptive term that captured the improvements in UK mobile internet technology resulting from their introduction of 4G services. They didn’t believe that consumers would expect this to be 24Mbps. However, the ASA pointed out that Ofcom had originally defined ‘superfast’ as greater than 24Mbps and, later, as above 30Mbps.
As a result, the ASA considered that consumers would understand ‘superfast’ to be a standard industry term that had an agreed meaning. Although this term was only applied to fixed-line broadband at the moment, the ASA said the lack of any further explanation would lead customers to understand that the word was being used to refer to mobile services in the same context.
Because EE’s 4G speeds were in the region of 8 to 12Mbps, it concluded that the ad exaggerated 4G broadband speeds and was therefore misleading.
An EE TV advertisement featuring Kevin Bacon that compared ‘superfast’ 4G with 3G speeds was not considered misleading because it specified the average speeds involved.