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ASA upholds complaint about three but was it right to?
Wednesday 22 January 2014 10:04:07 by Andrew Ferguson

three was perhaps being a little cheeky when it referred to its DC-HSDPA service as 3.9G, but it was correct in saying that people could use that without having to wait for 4G to roll-out and from the speed test and comments from people using this evolution of 3G it does appear to get close to 4G type speeds.

Alas the ASA after some debate has ruled that a complaint by Everything Everywhere should be upheld, who complained the adverts implied 3.9G could get close to 4G in terms of speed and also '. the claim "Our Ultrafast network is built for more" in ads (a) and (b) was misleading and could be substantiated'.

We recall the adverts appearing on the London Underground and the sense gained about the 'more' aspect was as much an aspect of the speed as it was that three offer unlimited usage products and in our opinion is more honest than dragging a 'shed load of data' across a beach when the amount of data is just 1GB.

The complaint over speeds was actually upheld after three failed to provide any data on speed comparisons, but did try to explain the technology and that in some cases DC-HSDPA could be faster than 4G. The second complaint was upheld as it was felt that 'Our Ultrafast network is built for more' was misleading and again had not been substantiated.

Do people think that this adjudication was fair? How are you finding the speed for the faster 3G variants?

The world of mobile marketing is littered with marketing terms, to the extent that superfast and ultrafast carry different definitions to the fixed line world. It is not clear whether the ASA is helping or hindering at times.

Comments

Posted by dragon2611 over 3 years ago
Like all mobile networks the speed is highly variable, that said I've had over 24Mbit/s out of 3's DC-HSDPA network on my nexus 4 although the upload is no where near what 4G can do. It is Hugely dependent on how busy the cells around you are though.

They seem to be the only ones still doing unlimited data and allowing tethering as well
Posted by mitchja over 3 years ago
What Three seem to be missing though are the much faster upload speeds you get with 4G compared to 3G (even DC-HSDPA).

Latency (pings) are also usually lower on 4G as well. On 4G I've seen pings as low as 40ms, on 3G it's not usually lower than 65ms.
Posted by mervl over 3 years ago
Um, as with all games it's the letter of the rules that counts, not the spirit. Well, once the off-field adjudicators get involved.
Posted by prlzx over 3 years ago
I suspect there is a difference in motives when another comms operator complains, as opposed to a member of the public.

The public are more likely to complain about a sense of unfairness on service / price vs the ad, whereas here it is clearly about trying to undermine another compmany's marketing.

In EE case they will be trying to protect the advantage they gained in being allowed to run 4G on existing frequencies pre-auction.

As I user I am more interested in how well something works than whether it upsets a competitor.
Posted by otester over 3 years ago
It's not so much DC-HSPA vs LTE but EE vs Three (implementations).

If EE is barely able to beat Three with a clear advantage, just think about when Three's LTE goes nationwide...it's going to be like pre-LTE days, king of the hill once again.
Posted by ahockings over 3 years ago
It should be upheld. 3.9G is correct but it's when it comes to average speeds that they are being naughty. I have had 29Mbps on 3G (briefly) and sometimes it's 10-16 but most of the time you are averaging about 6-10Mbps. The slowest I have had on 4G is 9Mbps but generally you get 18-30Mbps and occasionally 45!! Also as has been said, the latency is much lower being pure IP based and the uploads are nearly always around 20Meg. I uploaded 8MB of photos to Bookface the other day in 4 seconds! That would have been about 40 seconds on 3G.
Posted by EnglishRob over 3 years ago
What gets me is EE's shed load of data... friends of mine occasionally post about not being able to use their phone as they've "run out of data" on their service for the month, where as with the 3 x Three contracts I have (The One Plan on my phone, and two with "All you can eat data" on my kids phones) they genuinely are unlimited which is ideal.
Posted by Joppy over 3 years ago
Three DC-HSPA speeds have been consistent for me at around 12Mbps. So happy with it that I might not even bother upgrading to a 4G phone in the near future. My area is getting the 4G upgrade in the next couple of days.

Three show the average download speeds on their site of DC-HSPA and 4G and there is only 2Mbps difference. Obviously ping and upload will be better on 4G but if you don't use your phone for online gaming or lots of data upload, the difference is minimal.
Posted by chrysalis over 3 years ago
three is dire in city areas, at least it is in mine. 0.2-0.4mbit/sec
Posted by otester over 3 years ago
@chrysalis

What city and what device?
Posted by UKCodeMonkey over 3 years ago
Since Three have no signal where I live or work, their claims have no meaning for me. They weren't too bad when I had a 2G fallback signal, but they turned that off so I left my contract.
Posted by dsf58 over 3 years ago
@UKCodeMonkey

Ditto, It would be nice to have a 2G signal never mind a 3G signal. My 3G phone was a bit of a mistake as I still have to take my 2G phone with me to have a chance of getting a signal - and this is when driving on classified roads.

EE should be taken to the ASA cleaners - doesn't the second E claim "Everywhere"?
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