Watchdog Tells T-Mobile To Revise TVision Ads

T-Mobile should revise an ad that implies the new streaming service -- TVision Home -- is wireless, an industry watchdog recommended in an opinion released Tuesday.

The opinion stemmed from cable provider Charter's complaint to the Better Business Bureau's National Advertising Division about a campaign unveiled by T-Mobile last April, when the wireless carrier launched its $90-a-month streaming service.

That spot characterizes a cable interface as “a rat's nest of devices and wires.”

The ad also boasts that T-Mobile has no “hidden fees,” “clear and simple pricing,” and “real amazing customer service.”

Charter contended the ad was problematic for several reasons, including that it gave the misleading impression that TVision is wireless.

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The self-regulatory group agreed with Charter on that point.

“T-Mobile’s service requires the same number of wires as cable TV service,” the National Advertising Division wrote. “Like cable television service, T-Mobile’s TVision service also requires a set top box. In addition, it requires a modem and a router as the service is delivered via internet.”

The organization recommended that T-Mobile ads for the service show TVision's three wires, or convey the information with a “clear and conspicuous” disclosure.

Charter also challenged T-Mobile's claim that its $90-a-month service came without “hidden fees,” arguing that the company charged a $9.99-per-month fee for a cable box.

T-Mobile said that while it charges the fee, it also gives current customers a $9.99 credit on their bill -- bringing the total cost to just $90.

But the National Advertising Division recommended that T-Mobile stop using the phrase “no hidden fees,” noting that not everyone is eligible for the $9.99 credit.

The self-regulatory group also recommended that T-Mobile more prominently disclose that consumers can only use TVision if they have home broadband service.

“On the website, the disclosure is in small print and is combined with other disclosures,” the opinion states. “In the video advertisement, it is in grey text on a grey background. Furthermore, 'home connectivity' does not clearly convey the message that home internet service is required.”

T-Mobile agreed to follow the recommendations, according to the National Advertising Division said.

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