UK MOBILE OPERATOR Three has been banned from using the term "3.9G", which it uses to advertise its "Ultrafast" DC-HSDPA network, following a complaint from rival network EE.
The UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) announced the ruling on Tuesday, saying that it had upheld EE's complaint that the terms 3.9G is "misleading", despite EE having argued that the term suggested its speeds were "very close" to those offered by 4G.
Three had argued that the term "3.9G" was not used in the ads as a technological term, "but was being used to describe [its] own DC-HSDPA network, which was one step below 4G technology".
However, the ASA threw out this argument, saying that Three did not provide enough evidence to prove that the speeds offered on its 3G network were "very close" to those on 4G.
The ASA said, "Three provided information on the differences between 3G DC-HSDPA and 4G LTE technology. [It] said it showed that DC-HSDPA was extremely close to 4G LTE in performance, and in some cases outperformed it. [It] said the 1, 2, 3 and 4 mobile phone generation technologies were not based on technical standards, but merely described the evolutionary nature of the user experience."
The ASA added, "[It] said that although they had not intended the term '3.9G' as a technical one, [it] believed it was not misleading because [its] DC-HSDPA network was very close in terms of capability to 4G LTE."
The ASA had some more bad news for Three, ruling that its advertising slogan, "Our Ultrafast network is built for more" was unclear and not verifiable by consumers.
EE understandably was happy with the ruling. It told The INQUIRER, “We’re pleased the ASA agrees that this ad was misleading."
Three has not yet responded to our request for comment.. µ