The Advertising Standards Authority has decided to uphold three complaints about Vodafone advertising for its mobile broadband services.
The complaints centred around two adverts in the national press, with the headline "The fastest, most reliable mobile broadband in the galaxy. Only £15 a month". Hutchinson 3G, T-Mobile and a member of the public questioned some of the claims, namely whether Vodafone was the most reliable mobile broadband, whether Vodafone could substantiate the fastest mobile broadband claim and if the phrase "mobile broadband that's light years ahead" was misleading.
Vodafone responded to the ASA with details of the tests carried out by LCC International that formed the basis of their claims. The ASA, in its assessment of all the information, made some interesting observations. The LCC data did not include tests within homes, and in six of the ten UK regions where testing occurred one of the other mobile networks had a faster average time to download a web page.
All three complaints were upheld, and Vodafone has been told to make clear the basis for claims in future advertising.
This adjudication perhaps highlights one key issue with mobile broadband, if you are going to be using it in a fixed location, borrow someone elses dongle or use a mobile phone to see if a strong 3G signal is available before entering into a long contract. The distance to the base station and the amount of clutter in the way is crucial to determining the speed of connection and then once connected your actual speeds will depend on how many others are using their mobile broadband at that time.