Ad group calls out Verizon for ‘misleading’ 5G network commercials

Verizon 5G logo

An advertising watchdog is coming after Verizon over the big red carrier’s advertising of its 5G network.

The National Advertising Division (NAD), a part of the Better Business Bureau, said this week that it recommended Verizon stop some advertising related to the coverage and speeds of its 5G network. The ads were challenged by AT&T.

When it comes to coverage, the NAD looked at Verizon’s claim that said, “People form midtown Manhattan to downtown Denver can experience what 5G can deliver.” The NAD said it was concerned that this advertising could mislead consumers into thinking that Verizon 5G is available nationally. However, the NAD says that even Verizon “does not dispute that its current 5G service is limited.”

This ad does have a disclosure that says. “5G Ultra Wideband only available in parts of select cities and locations. 5G-capable device req’d. Coverage may vary and is not available exactly in all locations and venues depicted,” but the NAD feels that it’s not clear and conspicuous.

Verizon’s 5G is currently available in parts of 35 cities. The carrier is currently using millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum for its 5G network, which offers high speeds but isn’t great at reaching long distances or penetrating buildings.

Speaking of speeds, the NAD also took issue with the speeds referenced in Verizon’s ad. It includes statements like “almost 2 gigs here in Los Angeles” and “1.7 gigs here in Houston.” The NAD points out that the ad lacks speed test results that show how Verizon’s 5G network performs under normal use, though, and so it recommends that Verizon discontinue these claims.

The NAD is a self-regulating group and can’t actually force Verizon to change its advertising. However, Verizon responded to the NAD by saying that it will comply with its recommendations even if it doesn’t agree with all aspects of the NAD’s decision.

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