ASA shuts down Cell C campaign

2010-10-07 14:34

Cape Town - The Advertising Standards Authority has found that mobile operator Cell C's 4G campaign is misleading and dishonest.

The ASA was responding to complaints lodged by competitors MTN and Vodacom over Cell C's campaign that featured the 4Gs logo in both print and electronic media.

"The complainants, in essence, submitted that the respondent's '4Gs' logo is dishonest and misleading as consumers will mistake it to be a reference to the '4G standard of network. This is especially so as the 's' in '4Gs' is extremely small.

Consumers have become accustomed to seeing the term '3G' in connection with broadband capable devices in South Africa, which always denotes speed and connectivity capability," the ASA said in its ruling.

Cell C has been driving its connectivity as "speedcover 4Gs" in several cities, including Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, East London and Cape Town.

'Big positive'

"Cell C's 4GS network has come to the Mother City covering 94% of the population with average speeds of between 4 - 7 Mbps and the best broadband pricing in South Africa," Cell C CEO Lars P Reichelt said in a statement to News24.

The ASA found that the networking, in essence, was "on par" with competitors, and the company was offering a competitive advantage that it "did not possess".

In its response Cell C said that its 4Gs was not a technical term and the company was using it to highlight its service. It also disputed that it was subject to the ASA as information was "conveyed in editorial publicity".

Vodacom welcomed the ruling.

"We welcome the decision, it's a big positive for the consumer," Vodacom's Richard Boorman told News24. He said that there was an internationally accepted definition of 4G and Cell C didn't have it.

The ASA however, ruled that Cell C may not use the 4Gs logo, and the campaign must be withdrawn.


  • Jason Penton - 2010-10-07 14:46

    "We welcome the decision, it's a big positive for the consumer," - HAHAHA, like Vodacom REALLY cares for the consumer????? what a load!

  • Peter - 2010-10-07 14:47

    Is that all they are going to change? Seems they changed to being dishonest!

  • Juan - 2010-10-07 14:47

    Thank you ASA! 4g is a bit misleading!

  • Mr.T - 2010-10-07 14:48


  • Richard - 2010-10-07 14:52

    The Advertising authority should ban the whole cell C ad campaign

  • Francois - 2010-10-07 14:53

    what the heck, vodacom and mtn is just as scared as telkom when it comes to proper competition. they keep prices at ridiculous levels while we pay R250 pm for a 500mb "3G" card, that's hardly ever "3g", more like a 0,1G!!!!

  • peter - 2010-10-07 15:04

    I thought Trevor Noah would be watching them like a hawk..........

  • Trevor - 2010-10-07 15:04

    Wonder where Trevor Noah is??? He was supposed to be watching Cell C like a Hawk!!! but i guess money can buy oversight..

  • Anti Vodacom - 2010-10-07 15:08

    Why dont MTN and Vodacom go back to the drawing board regarding their exhorbitant rates rather than worry over CellC, they clearly threatened by what CellC has started to offer cant wait for my VC contract to end jan 2011 woohoo CellC here I come

  • Leon - 2010-10-07 15:10

    Forget about what is said above the biggest misleading point of all is the fact that the 4Gs network does not work on any phone with a normal cell c sim or contract. in other words it will ONLY work if you buy the data sim with the dongle. I personally think cell c has not looked after their existing client's. As a existing cell c user the biggest problem for me is the fact that you cannot utilize your phone's 3g capabilities with their network. A few monts back I saw cell c's campaign about the 4g thing and I thought to myself YAY now FINALLY i can use my phone's true potential when it comes to surfing the net. But soon my smile went away hehe as my nokia 5800 still shows the edge network sign in the top left corner. Now that I tell you was sad. And that to me is the biggest misleading thing about the WHOLE 4G network launch. Take note it does not work even if you buy yourself, as I did, a new 128k sim card. They told me it would work but it does not..... I'm not complaining, in actual fact I'm blessed to have a phone, i'm just warning other buyers. MTN and vodacom here I come, you'll see me next August :-)

  • Gaz - 2010-10-07 15:11

    Too late she cried - They have enjoyed the publicity already and will reap the rewards.
    Good on you CellC for your current campaign

  • HAYNE, Mark - 2010-10-07 15:13

    Typical of Cell C- everything about them is either dishonest or 3rd rate!

  • DANIEL - 2010-10-07 16:18

    i promise u mtn and vodacom arent in it for us - they are trying to stifle the very competitive pricing of cell c. i am DESPERATE to obtain a cell c dongle - i hope this wont screw that up.

  • Tisso - 2010-10-08 08:46

    Think they may need to propose to the ASA they keep the 4Gs, provided there's always clear text what it stands for. That would enhance the campaign if the intention is not to mislead in the 1st place. Afterall ASA just wants the consumer informed, no bias.

  • MOHAMED - 2010-10-08 14:35

    Who Care's what they Call it ,4G's 4 Great Speed & 4 Great Service ...Visit one if there store's & Experience the change ,It is their .I have personally Purchased a Data Speedstick for R2999 & i would save R10,000 for the Year,Vodacom & MTN are by far overpriced .Cell C has brought about change in the Store,s ,Price & Speed and Service & as a consumer that is Important for us ....Well Done Cell C we are right behind you

  • Fair Deal - 2010-10-11 12:56

    Since when does 4g,s relate to the speed of a cellphone network. We all know that 4g,s is FOUR THOUSAND RAND.

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