Orange claims that today’s ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over one of its advertising campaigns gags the industry from talking about its 3G network coverage.
The ASA ruled that Orange’s claim to have the ‘biggest 3G network covering more people than any other’, ‘had not been substantiated’ and ‘was likely to mislead’. The ASA investigated the campaign after complaints by rival operator Three.
An Orange spokesman said: ‘Whilst we accept the ASA's ruling we feel this decision effectively gags us, and the rest of the industry, from talking about our networks as according to the ASA as our claims are not “directly comparable”.
‘We believe the mobile broadband Ad in question clearly communicated that the Orange 3G network covered more people in the UK than any other operator and this was substantiated by publicly available information from each of the mobile operators at the time of publishing.
‘What is of most frustration is the company who raised the complaint, Three, have themselves started to use the same claim that we have been banned from using - the biggest 3G network by population. This is absurd and makes a mockery of the ASA's ruling.
‘The judgment demonstrates a clear requirement and consumer need for independent verification, providing the UK public with agreed information on mobile coverage. We are fully supportive of this happening and urge the industry to come together and make this possible.
‘Until this happens, with the ASA's commitment to ensuring a level playing field, network advertising for the entire mobile industry is in question, stifling creativity and the desire to invest in network programmes. Ultimately this could mean it is the consumer who loses out.’