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The ASA however, ruled that Cell C may not use the 4Gs logo, and the campaign must be withdrawn.