T-Mobile blocked from advertising 'most reliable' 5G

T-Mobile 5G
(Image credit: T-Mobile)

T-Mobile will no longer be able to advertise its 5G (opens in new tab) network as the 'most reliable' in the US according to a new ruling from the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau.

In a new press release (opens in new tab), NAD recommended that the company discontinue all claims that it has the most reliable 5G network based on third-party testing from the Accenture-owned advisory firm umlaut (opens in new tab). However, T-Mobile has already said that it will appeal NAD's decision on the matter.

NAD only got involved after AT&T (opens in new tab) challenged express and implied claims made by T-Mobile which first appeared in two television commercials and internet advertising.

President of technology at T-Mobile, Neville Ray praised the results of the nationwide study of 43m data samples from over 70,000 of its 5G smartphone (opens in new tab) users conducted by umlaut in a press release (opens in new tab) back in July, saying:

“umlaut’s report is just the latest to prove customers and businesses alike can count on T-Mobile 5G to deliver a fast and reliable 5G connection in more places than anyone else. While the other networks play catch up, we’ll keep adding more 5G coverage and capacity to bring a transformative experience to customers across the country.” 

5G and non-5G networks

Umluat's scoring for 5G network reliability tested T-Mobile's 5G network based on three metrics: 5G coverage reach, 5G connection share and download speed.

While the mobile carrier argued that many consumers toggle between 4G and 5G and that umlaut's testing methodology represents how many of them use 5G to supplement 4G, NAD determined that non-5G data cannot be used to support a claim about a 5G network. NAD also made the point that speed and coverage alone cannot be used to support a reliability claim.

T-Mobile responded to NAD's decision by saying that it was disappointed and would appeal it. The mobile carrier also argued that it should be able to advertise umlaut's independent award.

While T-Mobile can no longer claim that it has the most reliable 5G network, the company did take the top spots for 5G speed and availability (opens in new tab) in RootMetrics' latest 5G Scorecard.

Interested in upgrading to 5G? Check out our list of the best 5G smartphones (opens in new tab) and our roundup of the best cell phone plans (opens in new tab)

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.