New York, NY – March 16, 2023 – In a challenge brought by AT&T Services, Inc., the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs recommended that Comcast Cable Communications Management, LLC:
Comcast (under the Xfinity Mobile brand) provides cellular service that piggybacks off Verizon’s cellular network to existing Xfinity home internet customers. Customers of Xfinity Mobile can obtain service through the Verizon cellular network but can also connect through WiFi if they are within range of their Xfinity home internet WiFi or one of Xfinity’s public WiFi hotspots.
Regarding Comcast’s “fastest mobile service” claim, NAD found that Xfinity Mobile has the fastest combined WiFi and cellular speeds, but those speeds are only available within Xfinity’s WiFi footprint.
Further, NAD determined that the unqualified superiority speed claim reasonably conveys the message that the benefit is available wherever consumers use their mobile service, and therefore consumers may reasonably take away the message that so long as they have Xfinity mobile service—whether they are connected to cellular or WiFi—they will be able to experience the advertised fastest speeds across Xfinity’s entire mobile network. NAD recommended that Comcast disclose the material limitation that a consumer may only experience faster speeds on WiFi or in the Xfinity WiFi footprint.
NAD concluded that the disclosures in the challenged advertising do not adequately inform consumers of the circumstances under which the “fastest mobile service” claim is true and recommended that Comcast modify its advertising to clearly and conspicuously disclose that its “fastest mobile service” is based on combined WiFi and cellular speeds and that the claim is true only within its WiFi footprint or when connected to WiFi.
NAD recommended that Comcast discontinue its “most reliable” and “highest ranked” claims because the evidence in the record was not a good for fit the challenged claims.
NAD noted that nothing in its decision would prevent Comcast from making claims about the reliability of its WiFi network, so long as those claims are supported and do not convey the message that those claims also apply to its cellular network.
The “Best Network” claims appears on the Comcast webpage which states, “Choose from the best devices on the best network.” Underneath this headline is the sentence, “Ready to join the first mobile network that’s designed to save you money? It starts here.”
NAD noted that the “best network” claim is broad and unqualified and because Comcast did not provide any evidence to support the range of superiority messages conveyed by its “best network” claim NAD recommended that it be discontinued.
NAD also considered whether Comcast’s advertising conveys a message that consumers can purchase Xfinity’s mobile service regardless of whether they are Xfinity Internet customers. As NAD has noted in prior cases, the fact that a cellular service can only be purchased if the consumer also subscribes to a residential internet service is a material limitation that must be disclosed.
NAD determined that the disclosures in the challenged advertising were not sufficient and therefore recommended that Comcast clearly and conspicuously disclose that Xfinity Internet is required.
In its advertiser statement, Comcast stated that it “will appeal NAD’s decision because it believes that the challenged advertising conveys truthful messages about the unique benefits of the Xfinity Mobile service, delivered through the combination of two networks.” Further, the advertiser expressed concern that NAD’s decision is inconsistent with previous cases addressing similar claims and noted its disagreement with certain conclusions made by NAD.
Appeals of NAD decisions are made to BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate-level truth-in-advertising body of BBB National Programs.
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs, a non-profit organization, is the home of U.S. independent industry self-regulation, currently operating more than a dozen globally recognized programs that have been helping enhance consumer trust in business for more than 50 years. These programs provide third-party accountability and dispute resolution services that address existing and emerging industry issues, create a fairer playing field for businesses, and a better experience for consumers. BBB National Programs continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-and-teen-directed marketing, data privacy, dispute resolution, automobile warranty, technology, and emerging areas. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.
About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.