The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) recently ruled that MTN's claim that they offer an HSDPA broadband offering of 1.8 Mbps is unsubstantiated and should be withdrawn.
This ruling comes after Vodacom's advertising agency, FCB, lodged a complaint with the ASA saying that MTN "must show that the claim [of 1.8 Mbps speeds] is true for a significant proportion of customers who use the product, as the hypothetical reasonable person is likely to expect to regularly receive the claimed speed.â€
MTN responded by submitting an excerpt from Wikipedia as substantiation for the technical capability of HSDPA, and argued that it provides an unbiased overview of the technology.
According to the Wikipedia article, when using a category 4 device in conjunction with QPSK and 16-QAM modulations, speeds of 1.8 Mbps are achievable. A category 5 device can similarly deliver speeds of up to 3.6 Mbps.
MTN pointed out that that its FastLink E620 data card and FastLink USB mini modem are category 4 and 5 devices respectively. It also submitted that its network supports both QPSK and 16-QAM modulation schemes. According to the respondent, the information from Wikipedia therefore supports and substantiates the claim that its 3G HSDPA product can achieve speeds of "up to 1.8 Mbpsâ€.
The Advertising Authority was not convinced.
"There is no objective evidence before the Directorate to show that the respondent's [MTN's] data card, modem and network conform to the specifications mentioned in the Wikipedia article. The respondent has not provided verification from an independent and credible expert that the content of the article applies to its product," the ASA said.
MTN was ordered to withdraw this claim with immediate effect, and the 1.8 Mbps claim may not be used again in its current format until new substantiation has been submitted, evaluated, and a new ruling is made.
SA Internet News Group cc
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