Verizon has agreed to pull advertisements that falsely imply its tiny 5G network is available nationwide. Two TV ads have been criticized by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the BBB National Programs, the non-profit focused on industry-self regulation. The commercials in question were challenged by AT&T, which hasn't always been honest about 5G itself, advertising its "5Ge" network that's nothing but plain ol' 4G.
Ars Technica potentially found one of the ads in question, which you can watch on iSpot.tv. In it, Verizon suggests that its 5G service is "widely available across the country" and "broadly and readily accessible in cities where it has been launched," as the NAD explains. The carrier also implies that "the speed referenced in the commercials are typically experienced by consumers," which isn't the case. Verizon doesn't fully agree with the NAD's assessment, but it has still decided to comply, as the non-profit writes:
In its advertiser’s statement, Verizon stated that it will comply with NAD’s recommendations even though it does not agree with all aspects of NAD’s decision. Verizon further stated that it 'remains committed to the self-regulatory process and believes strongly in transparency of customer messaging.'
The problem with Verizon's claim mostly lies in the carrier's decision to go with mmWave. The technology can indeed theoretically reach the advertised download speeds of up to 2GBps, but the short waves don't travel very far and barely penetrate walls, which amounts to incredibly small coverage per tower. Thus, nationwide or even city-wide coverage is still far from given. Even discarding the specific mmWave technology, 5G is still in early stages for all carriers, and it'll take years until we see true nationwide coverage. After all, 4G isn't even available in every corner of the US yet.
- BBB National Programs
- Ars Technica