The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is no stranger to the world of mobile, having scolded Motorola’s “most powerful” Atrix in 2011, and more recently upholding BT’s complaint pertaining to EE’s “superfast” 4G.
Here EE is on the winning end (well, technically), having moaned to the ASA that Three’s “3.9G” terminology is potentially misleading.
As such, Three coined the term “3.9G”, a clear attempt to indicate to customers that they’re getting a service that’s almost on par with 4G.
That was enough to rile up EE, which scribbled a tear-stained letter to the ASA describing the 3.9G term - completely made up by Three - as “misleading”. Unfortunately for Three, the ASA agrees.
The delightful Carly Page of The Inquirer fame relays these ASA words, describing Three’s failed defence: "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.
"[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."
Alas, it was a thumbs-down from the ASA. Adding insult to injury, the ASA reckons Three’s claim: "Our Ultrafast network is built for more", is – as Carly writes – “unclear and not verifiable by consumers”.
One of these cases where the “winner” looks like a douche? You decide.