File image: MTN. (IOL).

CAPE TOWN - MTN has won an appeal to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) Tribunal which today ruled that Vodacom must withdraw all material that claims the group is “SA’s Best Network for 3 years in a row” with immediate effect.

This comes after MTN on February 26 this year lodged an appeal against Vodacom’s material which claimed that they were the Best Network for 3 years in a row. 

Today, an ASA Tribunal appeal cleared the confusion over which network provider is in fact the best network in SA by ruling in favour of MTN. 

Notably, MTN initially lodged a complaint to the ASA against Vodacom’s print advertisements which claimed to be SA’s Best Network for 3 years in a row”, after which it had a small disclaimer at the foot of the advert, which stated: As rated by SAcsi 2017.“This is a really important decision as it provides clarity for consumers and for the industry. Our concern was that the ASA did not seem to have a standardised approach as to who could claim to have the ‘best network’,” said Corporate Affairs, MTN SA, Jacqui O’ Sullivan, Executive. 

The advert which was said to be misleading was in fact based on consumer opinion instead of network performance. However, the Tribunal came to the conclusion that the advert did not communicate the clear benchmark for the claim. In addition, the ASA Tribunal found that the claim to be “SA’s best network for 3 years in a row” was also incorrect as Vodacom had only been voted “Best Network” by the South African Consumer Satisfaction Index in 2017. This did not include 2015 and 2016. 

MTN responded to this claim by reiterating MTN’s fast network speed. MTN has the fastest mobile network and the best download speeds according to the Q4 2017 and the more recent Q1 2018 MyBroadband Mobile Network Quality Report. MTN has also been rated as the “Best in Test” for Voice and Data according to P3 Mobile Benchmark South Africa tests.

“Consumers can now base their purchasing decisions on objective, verifiable and world-class standards while the industry will also need to continue benchmarking itself against the highest possible performance measures,” said O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan added that their main intention was to clarify the issue, in the best interests of all consumers. 

While MTN claims that they are pleased with the ruling of the Tribunal, O’Sullivan said that Vodacom has not yet responded to the rulings and has also not issued an apology as yet.