[the guardian] A poster claiming that Vodafone was the only operator that could guarantee coverage indoors has been banned by the advertising watchdog.
Competitors T-Mobile and O2, among others, lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority over an ad that used the strapline "Only Vodafone can guarantee mobile signal in your home" .
The ad showed an individual leaning out of a window to try to find a better signal on their phone and advertised Vodafone's 'Sure Signal' device, a box designed to improve 3G signal reception by utilising a home broadband connection.
The ASA upheld complaints by T-Mobile and O2 that the advert did not make clear that a 3G handset and broadband connection were required for Sure Signal to be used, and that Vodafone could not actually "guarantee" a signal.
Vodafone had argued that customers were informed on its website about the minimum requirements needed to make use of the service, and "that a customer would be unable to gather sufficient information to purchase the product without visiting the website and becoming aware that a 3G handset and broadband connection would be required".
Vodafone stated that while a 64kbps connection was required for the device to function correctly, almost all customers in a study of 22,000 households had achieved this minimum. The company added, "it would still be possible for the majority of customers to receive a signal at bandwidth intensive periods."
The ASA ruled, however, that "because Vodafone did not control the availability and performance of the broadband connection, the claim to 'guarantee' a signal was unsubstantiated and likely to mislead."
ASA calls Vodafone to account over 'misleading' advert - Poster asserting that Vodafone was only operator that could guarantee coverage indoors banned by advertising watchdog