Yet another UK broadband provider has incurred the wrath of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
Just days after the regulator published new guidelines on broadband marketing, T-Mobile has been held to account over claims made in its online, print and outdoor ads.
The new ASA regulations – which impose restrictions on broadband provider speed claims and the way they advertise monthly usage allowances – do not come into force until April 2012.
But even under the current regime, the regulator was able to uphold nine complaints against T-Mobile's recent advertising content, which promoted a "truly unlimited" broadband service.
The ASA explained that the broadband deal in question could not be described as "truly unlimited" since restrictions were imposed on the plan.
T-Mobile was not entitled to make such a "very strong claim" about the benefits of the broadband package, the regulator added
A statement read: "Although we noted that the plan was not subject to a fair usage policy and that the three exceptions/restrictions were set out in the ads' small print, we considered that, to all intents and purposes, where an ad claimed that a plan was 'truly unlimited', exclusions would be contrary to a consumer’s expectations.
"We therefore considered that the information in the small print contradicted the headline claim 'truly unlimited'."
Because the ASA understood that restrictions had been imposed on the plan, it concluded the claim was misleading and should not be made again in its current form.
T-Mobile was held to have breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.9 (Qualification) and 3.11 (Exaggeration).
A number of broadband providers – including BT and Virgin Media – have already been instructed to alter marketing content this year - even prior to the publication of the ASA's new, tougher guidelines.
From next spring, broadband providers will only be able to advertise headline speeds which are accessible to ten per cent of their consumer base.
And they will only be permitted to describe a service as 'unlimited' if the customer incurs no additional charge or penalty for exceeding their monthly usage allowance.