T-Mobile's TVision called out for questionable advertising after Charter complaint

Cable giant Charter filed a complaint with the National Advertising Division (NAD) over T-Mobile's advertisements for its TVision, which the mobile operator claims is better than cable TV.

Martha DeGrasse, Contributor, Light Reading

February 7, 2020

2 Min Read
T-Mobile's TVision called out for questionable advertising after Charter complaint

Although T-Mobile has touted its TVision service as better than cable TV, not everyone appears to agree.

The National Advertising Division (NAD) -- administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council under the new BBB National Programs banner -- has recommended that T-Mobile pull an ad that compares TVision to cable. The ad shows a bored couple watching TV in a bland living room when a loud man in huge magenta shoes walks in to tell them they can do way better. He disparages their "crappy cable interface" and "rat's nest of devices and wires," and advises them to switch to T-Mobile's TVision in order to watch "what they want when they want" in any part of the house.

The ad does not explain or show that TVision requires a wired connection (T-Mobile is a wireless network operator and does not operate a wired network).

The ad quickly caught the attention of cable giant Charter, which complained about the ad to the NAD. The NAD noted that TVision typically requires a router, a modem, a set-top box, and a broadband connection. The ad never claims that TVision doesn't require these things, but it never shows the equipment. It does, however, include a reference to "home connectivity and connected set-top box."

In the ad, the magenta-shod stranger decides to help himself to the confused couple's bathroom and climbs into the bathtub with a tablet, reminding the couple that with TVision they can watch TV wherever they want. The NAD told T-Mobile that this part of the ad is definitely misleading because at this time TVision is not a wireless service.

TVision is the broadband television business that T-Mobile developed after buying Layer3 in 2017. It took T-Mobile two years to relaunch Layer3 as TVision, though T-Mobile executives have said the offering will be improved at some unspecified point in the future.

— Martha DeGrasse, special to Light Reading. Follow her @mardegrasse

About the Author(s)

Martha DeGrasse

Contributor, Light Reading

Martha DeGrasse is a contributor to Light Reading. Follow her on Twitter: @mardegrasse

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