EE lodges complaint over Three’s “real 5G” advertising


EE has filed a complaint with the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), claiming Three’s 5G campaign breaches rules.

Three’s promotion in newspapers and social media has the tagline, “If it’s not Three, it’s not real 5G”. The ASA will now investigate whether the messages are misleading.

Three announced plans to roll out its 5G mobile network later this year across 25 cities, boasting unlimited packages at no extra cost from £20. EE launched its 5G service in May. Its cheapest SIM-only 5G tariff costs £32 a month, but data is capped.

An EE spokesperson told Mobile Europe: “Three’s claim to be the only real 5G network is entirely false, and deliberately aimed at misleading consumers. Our customers have been using real 5G since we launched the UK’s first 5G network, back in May.”

But Three said: “Our advert is to inform consumers that we will offer the fastest 5G network, based on Three having three times as much 5G spectrum as any other operator. We are also the only operator to have 100MHz of contiguous spectrum.

ITU considers this the gold standard for 5G, enabling consumers to take full advantage of what 5G has to offer.”

Competitive advantage?

EE, Vodafone and O2 voiced concerns over “competitive advantage” related to Three’s £250 million acquisition of UK Broadband in 2017.

In Ofcom’s review of the impact of the deal, Vodafone said: “There is a real prospect that Three UK will have a monopoly in the provision of ultra-high speed, ultra-high bandwidth services.”

Earlier this week, Three launched its 5G home broadband service – for certain areas of London initially.