Verizon agreed to run 5G ads claiming its new network was “built” for firefighters and first responders after the National Advertising Division and the Better Business Bureau began reviewing the ads after misleading complaints.
The decision to be reported by first Ars Technicafollows Verizon’s announcement earlier this week that it will expand low-band 5G coverage to tens of million US customers in conjunction with the launch of Apple’s new 5G-enabled iPhone 12 line.
However, the ads in question were older than Verizon’s nationwide 5G rollout and were initially broadcast as part of a 5G Super Bowl ad campaign. The campaign promoted Verizon̵
When I walk into a fire the smoke is usually pitch black when you open the door. Time is really of the essence in a structural fire because it can mean life or death. With 5G we can stream the video [firefighters are] Go back through her mask to a command center and merge those videos from multiple sources for greater situational awareness. 5G Ultra Wideband is required for all of these applications to work.
The main problem, of course, is that until this week Verizon only offered limited mmWave coverage and only in certain urban markets, which means that ultra-broadband 5G probably wouldn’t be more useful than standard LTE to a firefighter. Competitor T-Mobile challenged the claims made in the ads in complaints to the NAD, and the NAD has now said Verizon has pre-emptively agreed to discontinue the fire and first responder-specific ads rather than doing a full review. (The music and educational music was not found to be a violation.)
“Verizon has committed to permanently discontinue the 5G Built Right for Firefighters and 5G Built Right for First Responders ads and the alleged claims made therein. Therefore, NAD has not verified these claims for merit,” said a press release NAD. Additionally, NAD recommends Verizon change their language when talking about the speeds of its various 5G tiers and comparing those speeds with those of T-Mobile and other competitors.
The NAD recommends that Verizon do the following in the future:
- Avoid delivering the unsupported message that Verizon’s 5G service is ten times faster than the internet at home.
- Stop claiming that its customers are not worried about delays using the 5G service. and
- Set the claim that a download that used to take 20 minutes is now 20 seconds or change it to make a quantified claim backed by the evidence.
The NAD also recommends Verizon “change the advertising to convey a message about what consumers typically expect to achieve network-wide” and “change its demonstrations to reflect typical network speeds” when comparing its existing LTE Network and T- are discussed. Mobile 5G network.
This isn’t Verizon’s first controversial dusting with firefighters. In August 2018, the company notoriously throttled the California firefighters who were fighting the raging wildfires across the state in a way that “had a significant impact on our ability to deliver emergency services,” said Santa Clara County’s Fireman Anthony Bowden.
Verizon eventually found it had made a “mistake” in its plans to include exceptions to providing emergency services. The company then committed to never throttling first responders who rely on its on-site service.