BT’s consumer head Marc Allera reckons his rivals are stretching the truth with their 5G claims.
Allera made his allegations in a blog post timed to coincide with the announcement that EE has switched on 5G in a few more towns. If his strategy was to improve the press coverage of an otherwise boring announcement then he has succeeded. Happy though we are for the residents of Leamington Spa and Halifax that they can now access EE 5G, that alone would not normally be considered sufficiently newsworthy to trouble our discerning audience with.
But now it’s personal. While he didn’t name them, Allera criticised some of the 5G claims of three different UK rivals, which must mean Vodafone, O2 and Three. “For example, test results suggest that one rival’s network, which currently purports to have the highest number of 5G locations in the UK, actually has coverage levels lower than EE’s in many of those,” blogged Allera.
“Another rival, which recently claimed the best 5G in London, was quoting the results of a report that tested mainly only where they had strong signal, rather than capturing the wider area,” he continued. Or take a third rival, that claims to be the ‘best network’ before telling you, in the small print, it’s actually an award for customer service.”
Like the marketing veteran he is, Allera embellished this fighting talk with cherry-picked factoids that paint EE in the best possible light. If they chose to, one or all of EE’s rivals could presumably play the same game and pick holes in Allera’s claims. After all, it’s not like he’s entirely innocent of 5G hyperbole himself.
Still, at least EE’s coverage checker supports the latest claims. The same can’t be said of O2, which also issued a new 5G location press release today. “New locations include Bournemouth, Cheltenham, Doncaster and Southampton,” declared the release, but O2’s own coverage checker doesn’t seem to have got the memo. Here are some screenshots.
They’ll presumably get around to updating it soon, but that’s still a bit of a schoolboy error. While it’s always fun when corporations pick fights with each other, this sort of thing does also serve a less trivial purpose. The whole point of competition is that it makes everyone raise their game and maybe UK MNOs will be a bit more careful with their marketing claims from now on.
It hopefully goes without saying that if any telcos ever feel inclined to publicly call out their competitors for any reason, Telecoms.com would be delighted to get involved.