Verizon pulls 5G for firefighters ads after T-Mobile complaint

The move comes just as Verizon launches its nationwide 5G network.

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Verizon is pulling two advertisements for its 5G network that boasted of the potential benefits of faster speeds for firefighters and first responders. The move comes after T-Mobile filed a series of complaints with the National Advertising Division of BBB National Programs.

Specifically, T-Mobile took issue with the ads' suggestions that Verizon's network "generally provides sufficient coverage indoors to support real-time interactive services, or will generally provide indoor coverage in the future from exterior cell sites that will be sufficient to support real-time interactive services."

Verizon moved to pull the ads in response, stopping the NAD from pursuing any further review of T-Mobile's objections in the matter. 

"Verizon committed to permanently discontinue its '5G Built Right for Firefighters' and '5G Built Right for First Responders' advertisements and the challenged claims made therein," the NAD wrote. "Therefore, NAD did not review these claims on their merits."

In response to other objections, the NAD also recommended that Verizon:

  • Avoid conveying the unsupported message that Verizon's 5G service is 10x faster than home internet. 
  • Discontinue the claim that its customers "don't worry about lag" when using its 5G service.
  • Discontinue the claim that a download that used to take 20 minutes now takes 20 seconds, or modify it to make a quantified claim supported by the evidence. 

Per the NAD, Verizon said it'll comply with the recommendations.

Read more: Verizon vs. AT&T vs. T-Mobile compared: How to pick the best 5G carrier for you

All of this comes just as Verizon is launching its nationwide 5G network in conjunction with the arrival of the iPhone 12, and two years after the company admitted to throttling the speeds of West Coast firefighters as they battled wildfires.

Verizon and T-Mobile didn't respond to a request for comment.

Correction, Oct. 16: This story initially described the National Advertising Division as a part of the Better Business Bureau. It is actually a division of BBB National Programs, an independent nonprofit organization established in 2019 after a restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The story has been updated accordingly.