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New guidelines on mobile and broadband advertising

New guidelines on mobile and broadband advertising

Telecoms operators should not mislead customers by exaggerating the availability, coverage and speed of mobile and broadband services, according to new guidelines.

The new measures around the advertising of mobile phone and broadband services are being introduced by the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland and come into effect from 1 September.

Included in the rules are a requirement to give greater detail on the availability of a product, particularly in relation to geographical location.

Companies will also have to clearly state when their broadband connection is only partially fibre-based, as opposed to full-fibre networks which are now available in some places.

Meanwhile, the authority is reviewing the use of the word “unlimited” where data limits do exist, and consumers end up paying so called ‘fair usage charges’.

The ASAI says the guidelines will complement its existing code in ensuring that certain marketing terms used by telecommunications operators convey clear meanings that are not misleading to consumers.

“Marketing terms, by their design, are there to attract consumers to buy certain products and are an essential part of business development in the telecoms industry. However, there is the potential to mislead when marketing terms are used incorrectly,” Orla Twomey, Chief Executive of the ASAI said.

“To ensure that the Code will remain, at all times, credible and relevant, the ASAI regularly reviews and appraises the Code, taking account of evolving commercial and societal trends.”

Fibre network operator Siro has welcomed the changes and said it will help remove consumer confusion around products that are advertised as being fibre-based.

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