Orange has hit back at rival 3, who has complained to the Advertising Standards Association (ASA) its ‘You’re covered’ advertising campaign.
The £4 million campaign, running until the middle of December across train stations, buses, digital panels, airports and shopping malls, claims Orange’s 3G network covers 93 per cent of the UK population.
3 has claimed that if measuring network coverage by population and geographically, it has a bigger 3G network than Orange.
The complaint is currently being reviewed by the ASA and will take five weeks to process.
An Orange spokesperson said: “According to the figures posted by each of the UK mobile operators, the Orange 3G network covers more of the British population than any other operator. The percentages regarding 3G population coverage are based on the most up-to-date figures that each company has published.
“The figure that 3 has published shows that we have a greater 3G population coverage than they do. We think that’s something to shout about and that’s why we’re telling our customers – and theirs – about it.”
A 3 spokesperson said: “We’re confident that we have the biggest 3G network in the UK, both in terms of geographic and population coverage, built on a 9,192 site network that grows by around 150-sites each week.
“But it’s no surprise consumers are being confused about coverage. Right now each operator chooses a population coverage measurement that suits it. We currently claim 92 per cent coverage. We could use a measure used elsewhere in the industry that would boost our claimed population coverage to 95 per cent in an instant, without reaching a single extra customer.
“We’re happy to open up our network to a third-party to judge. We’d like to see a common standard applied across the industry, to give consumers a more realistic picture of 3G coverage available to UK consumers on all networks.”
Meanwhile, Vodafone came under fire from the ASA at the end of last month for its summer advertising campaign which claimed it had abolished roaming. The campaign attracted 21 complaints which questioned whether the campaign was misleading as it implied Vodafone was removing roaming rates permanently rather than just the summer of 2009.
Vodafone said the ads stated the dates for the promotion. The ASA said: “The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Vodafone to ensure that significant conditions of promotions were made clear, and did not contradict the main claim, in future ads.”