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Three’s ‘3.9G’ Adverts Have Been Banned for Being Misleading

28th January 2014
  Three 4GThree in a spot of trouble with the UK's Advertising Standards Authority.

With its unlimited data and low prices Three has proved a popular destination for web hungry users in the past and we have to admit that it got us a little bit excited when it promised the same for 4G.

But the initial excitement has faded to an extent as Three is still yet to truly deliver any sort of 4G service to its consumers. Because while the other networks have made 4G available to millions of customers and are doing a good job of rapidly expanding their coverage, Three so far has only granted it to 3000 people across London, Manchester, Birmingham and Reading.

Three previously launched a series of adverts describing its Ultrafast 3G service as ‘3.9G’, a claim which EE understandably challenged as it suggests that it’s only marginally slower than 4G.

Three wasn’t able to back this up to the satisfaction of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and according to MarketingMagazine its adverts were ruled as misleading and banned as a result.

Three also advertised that “4G is nice. But our Ultrafast network is built for more.” Quite what ‘more’ entailed was unclear. It certainly doesn’t give you more speed. It’s potentially cheaper and gives you more data, which is perhaps what Three meant, but the advert didn’t make that clear enough and was again labelled as misleading by the ASA.

The ASA concluded "The ads must not appear again in their current form. We (the ASA) told Three to ensure that claims did not mislead and that comparative claims complied with the requirements of the Code".

Three aims to bring 4G to 50 cities by the end of the year and to 98% of the population by the end of 2015 which at that point would put it in line with O2 and Vodafone’s targets.

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