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The ASA bans a string of EE ads following complaints made by Three

Paul Lipscombe
April 9, 2020

The complaints are around EE’s claims of being the best UK 5G network and for being “unbeatable” 

EE has seen a number of its adverts banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after being accused of misleading consumers with claims around its 5G service.

It follows two complaints lodged by rival operator Three who challenged EE’s claims it is the “No.1 network”, while also accused the operator of misleadingly implying that it is the top-rated network for 5G connectivity.

The complaints relate to a number of adverts that EE launched between May 2019 and February 2020.

The first ad which was seen on May 30 2019 just as EE launched its 5G service had the slogan “5G. NOW THE UK’S NO.1 NETWORK. Search 5GEE.”

While other adverts included boasts of “unbeatable” service and repeating references to EE being the UK’s best network.


The first complaint was not upheld by the ASA, as it ruled there was a “degree of separation between the claim of 5G provision and the claim about EE’s network rating and suggested they had been the “No. 1 network” before the addition of 5G.”

But the second complaint around the use of the words “unbeatable” and “unrivalled” was upheld.

The ASA said: “We considered that the claims “unbeatable” and “unrivalled” would be understood by consumers to relate specifically to the “No.1 Network” claim in the ad, comparing EE with other mobile network operators. We understood that unlike in other contexts, where “No.1” claims were intended to convey that a product or service was the best-selling or held the greatest market share, EE’s intended use of the claim in each of the ads was to inform the audience that according to an independent organisation’s testing, their network outperformed those of their competitors.”

In a statement, EE has effectively defended its adverts.

An EE spokesperson said: “Our adverts clearly tell our customers that they’re on the UK’s number one network. We think that’s made explicit by the link to RootMetrics’ independent, nationwide testing of network performance, including coverage, speed and reliability. We are also frequently ranked number one for customer sentiment and have the joint best customer service of all mobile networks – we’re not just best for performance. We’ll be continuing this discussion through the ASA’s Independent Review process.”

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