New York, NY – May 16, 2023 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs determined that certain claims made by Comcast Cable Communications Management, LLC for its Xfinity home internet were supported. However, NAD recommended that Comcast modify or discontinue other Xfinity home internet service claims, as well as claims for Xfinity’s mobile service.
The claims at issue, which appeared in television and online advertising, were challenged by T-Mobile USA, Inc, provider of T-Mobile home internet service (T-HINT). T-HINT uses T-Mobile’s wireless network. Comcast Xfinity cable home internet service uses Comcast’s wired cable infrastructure.
Challenged “Nocturnal” Commercial
NAD determined that although consumers may not literally take away a message that T-HINT customers must become “nocturnal” to access the internet, the overall net impression is that T-HINT is frequently unusable during the day.
NAD found that Comcast’s evidence did not establish that T-HINT users regularly experience unusable speeds during daytime hours. Therefore, NAD recommended that Comcast discontinue the challenged claims made in the context of the Nocturnal commercial that:
- “Everyone is online during the day, so we lose speeds” using T-HINT
- “Well if you just switch, maybe you don’t have to be vampires.”
As well as the related implied claims:
- “Daily periods of congestion on T-Mobile’s network last until 2 a.m.”
- “T-Mobile is not sufficiently fast or reliable to be used during daytime hours”
- “T-HINT customers need to switch to Xfinity in order to access reliably fast internet service during the day”
- “T-Mobile’s order of prioritization of mobile customers materially renders T-HINT unusable except in the dead of night”
- “As a general matter, slower speeds under certain conditions described in T-Mobile’s disclaimers and disclosures reflect typical consumer experience using T-HINT”
NAD noted that nothing in its decision precludes Comcast from making other truthful and non-misleading comparative claims relating to internet speed and reliability.
Challenged “Birdwatchers” Commercial
NAD determined that one of the messages reasonably conveyed is that T-HINT is unusable for online gaming.
NAD concluded that Comcast’s evidence did not demonstrate that all online gaming would be affected by T-HINT’s latency. However, NAD found that the evidence demonstrated that certain “response-sensitive” gamers might have their gaming experience materially impacted by the lag associated with T-HINT, thus supporting the claim that “T-Mobile fixed home internet customers experience 2-4x the latency of wired internet customers.”
Because the evidence did not support the message that T-HINT speeds are insufficient to enjoy all types of gaming, NAD recommended that Comcast discontinue the challenged claims made in the context of the Birdwatchers commercial, including the claims:
- T-HINT “lags and it throws the whole thing off”
- “Getting Xfinity is the “adult” thing to do
- “INTERNET ISSUES?” “If ONLY THEY HAD XFINITY”
As well as the related implied claims:
- T-HINT lags too much to be useful for gaming
- T-HINT customers need to switch to Xfinity in order to enjoy gaming
In the alternative, NAD noted that Comcast may modify the Birdwatchers commercial to clearly communicate the types of gaming impacted by the increased lag associated with T-HINT.
“TMo Facts” Webpage
T-Mobile challenged claims about T-HINT which appeared on the “TMo Facts” page of the Xfinity website that states “Xfinity vs. T-Mobile 5G home internet” and includes a series of comparative claims comparing T-HINT and Xfinity internet, as well as other monadic claims and information about Xfinity internet.
Speed comparison claims: Comcast’s evidence did not demonstrate that an appreciable number of consumers are likely to attain 36x faster service with Xfinity or 36x slower service with T-HINT. Therefore, NAD recommended that Comcast modify the following unqualified speed claims to reflect speed differences experienced by a material number of consumers, and noted that such advertising may state that T-HINT users experience a range of speeds, including by reference to the speeds in that range:
- Xfinity home internet is “up to 30x faster than [T-]HINT”
- Xfinity home internet is “up to 36x faster than T-Mobile’s 5G home internet”
- T-HINT “is 10-30x slower” than Xfinity home internet
NAD also recommended that Comcast disclose specifically the basis of the comparative claim in the main claim or in similar font size and in immediate proximity to the comparative claim (e.g., that Xfinity Gigabit Plus tier is being compared to median T-HINT speeds).
NAD found that the claim that “Storms, mountains, cars – being inside – can slow your speed. T-Mobile says: ‘Weather, the surrounding terrain, use inside a building or moving vehicle’ all affect speed and performance,” is substantiated because the claim is consistent with T-Mobile’s own statements about T-HINT and how it may be affected by these factors.
“Bad Internet”: NAD determined that, in context, the “Bad internet happens to good people. We can help,” claim is a broad claim which may reasonably communicate the message that T-HINT service is substandard in one or more important aspects. Because Comcast did not provide evidence that T-HINT is “bad internet,” NAD recommended that the claim be discontinued.
Xfinity Mobile Advertising
NAD recommended that Comcast modify its advertising to clearly and conspicuously disclose that its “Xfinity Mobile now has the fastest mobile service” claim is based on combined WiFi and cellular speeds and that the claim is true only within its WiFi footprint or when connected to WiFi.
In its advertiser statement, Comcast stated that it “agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations.” Comcast further stated that while it “disagrees that any of the challenged ads convey unsupported messages concerning T-HINT’s performance, Comcast appreciates NAD’s acknowledgment that Comcast can make truthful and non-misleading comparative claims relating to internet speed and reliability, including qualified claims differentiating speeds experienced by T-HINT customers versus Xfinity WiFi customers.”
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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.
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