In a significant victory for MTN South Africa, rival Vodacom has been told it may no longer claim in marketing and advertising material that it has South Africa’s best mobile network.
In a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority’s Advertising Industry Tribunal, MTN has won an appeal against its rival, overturning an earlier decision by the authority in Vodacom’s favour.
Vodacom has been ordered to withdraw all material that bears the claim with immediate effect.
The genesis of the dispute dates back to late January when Vodacom ran an advertisement in print media claiming it was South Africa’s “best network for three years in a row”. The claim was based on SAcsi, a benchmark of consumer satisfaction of the quality of products and services available to consumers.
MTN had contended that Vodacom’s claim to have the best network had always been in reference to its network performance and understood as such. The SAcsi benchmark does not deal with network performance. Vodacom responded that the “best network” claim did not necessarily relate to performance.
In its ruling, the advertising authority found that consumers “would most likely regard each claim in the context in which it appears” and that Vodacom’s claim was therefore “not misleading or dishonest”.
But the tribunal has overturned that decision following MTN’s appeal. It said Vodacom’s claim is “misleading” and must be withdrawn. — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media