A post on LinkedIn and a website for Purdicom, seen in October 2017, for wireless technology:
a. The LinkedIn page featured the claim “Siklu MM Wave technology enables interference free high speed network connectivity between an unlimited number of buildings”.
b. The “Solutions” page of the website www.purdi.com included text which stated, “Purdicom offers the exclusive use of 32GHz to its customers proving interference free spectrum for high speed backhaul with quicker and cheaper licenses”. Further text below stated “By using microwave wireless capacity is increased up to Gbps, data transmission will be interference free”.
Dundastech Ltd, who understood it was not possible to provide interference free radio, challenged whether the claims in ads (a) and (b) that Purdicom offered “interference free” radio frequencies were misleading and could be substantiated.
Purdicom Ltd stated that they did not consider that interference was defined as any signal that could be perceived by a receiver. They acknowledged that although some radio frequency signals operating within the vicinity of the radio may be perceived as interference, it was only when the Signal Interference Ratio (SIR) was below a certain level that the radio was being subjected to interference. They stated that the 32GHz frequency spectrum used by their technology underwent the regulatory standards defined by Ofcom and the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 (the Act). They stated that the Act required that no radio equipment was installed or used in the UK except under the authority of a license.
Purdicom said that all licenses underwent desktop analysis which detailed the interference limits for the license and the testing that the equipment had to undergo. They stated that they could therefore substantiate the claims.
The ASA considered that consumers would understand “interference free” to mean that the equipment would not be subject to interference when it was being used. We considered that consumers would understand “interference” in that context to mean any signal that appeared to interfere with the output.
We noted that Purdicom considered that their equipment met the relevant licensing conditions set out by Ofcom and the Act, which required that the equipment not be susceptible to interference above a certain level and that they held an exclusive license for the 32 GHz spectrum. We further noted that Purdicom acknowledged that there may be times when users of the equipment may perceive signals as interference. We considered that consumers would understand those signals to be interference, even if they did not fall under the regulatory definition of acceptable interference.
We understood from Ofcom that while Purdicom’s equipment may have been immune to signals below a certain level, all equipment was susceptible to certain types of signal which could cause interference and that there were many reasons for interference including natural atmospheric conditions.
Because we understood that Purdicom’s technology may be subjected to signals that would be perceived by consumers as interference, and we had not seen evidence that the technology would be immune to such signals, we concluded that the claim “interference free radio” had not been substantiated, and was therefore misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 3.7 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation. (Substantiation).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Purdicom Ltd not to claim that it was able to provide “interference free” radio.