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ASA Ruling on Lycamobile UK Ltd

Lycamobile UK Ltd

Walbrock Building
195 Marsh Wall
London
E14 9SG

Date:

26 November 2014

Media:

Internet (on own site)

Sector:

Computers and telecommunications

Number of complaints:

3

Complaint Ref:

A14-282052

Ad

Claims on www.lycamobile.co.uk included, under a tab entitled "Unlimited Data", "Unlimited Data, now with 4G … Unlimited Data". A banner ad on the website stated "£15 per month … UNLIMITED DATA NOW WITH 4G".

Issue

Hutchison 3 G UK Ltd and two complainants challenged whether the claim "unlimited data" was misleading and could be substantiated, because they understood Lycamobile's traffic management policy had a more than moderate impact for customers who exceeded data thresholds.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

Response

Lycamobile UK Ltd said the data speed was downgraded from 4G to 2G after excessive use, but that very few customers would ever use that amount of data in a month. They said they would amend their website, putting an asterisk after the claim linking to the terms and conditions, which stated that the speed would slow down if consumers used over 5GB of data.

Assessment

Upheld

The ASA considered that "unlimited" was a strong claim and that consumers were likely to expect that services, or features of services, described as "unlimited" would be subject only to moderate restrictions. We understood the "Unlimited Data" claim that appeared on Lycamobile's website referred to a service in which customers would have their speeds significantly reduced, from 4G to 2G, as a result of exceeding the data thresholds. In that context, we considered, although the restriction might only affect a small proportion of customers, reducing users' download speeds to that extent was not moderate and that any reference to it was likely to contradict, rather than clarify, the claims that the service was "unlimited". We therefore concluded that the claim "Unlimited Data" was misleading.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.9 (Qualification).

Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Lycamobile UK Ltd not to claim that their service was "unlimited" if they imposed restrictions that were more than moderate.

How to comply with the rules

For advice and training on the Advertising Codes please visit the CAP website.

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