T-Mobile cannot use a phrase in its advertisements that its 5G network service that uses 600 MHz spectrum is highly reliable anymore.
This is the aftermath of Verizon not being able to advertise that its 5G based on the 28 GHz mmWave band is provided throughout the U.S. Psychological warfare between American telecommunications companies regarding characteristics of the 5G frequency bands is becoming more intense.
National Advertising Division (NAD) prohibited T-Mobile to stop advertise on TVs and online that its 5G network is more reliable than 5G networks of its competitors.
In order to maximize advantages of 600 MHz spectrum that has a wide coverage, T-Mobile has been putting up advertisements that provoke its competitors. By utilizing the 5G coverage map, it advertised that the 5G network of Verizon based on the 28 GHz mmWave band only covers 1% of the nation and that the combined coverage of the 5G networks of Verizon and AT&T still falls short of the coverage of its 5G network. It also emphasized that its 5G network is far more reliable than 4G and 5G networks of its competitors.
However, NAD prohibited T-Mobile to stop its advertisements by concluding that excellent coverage does not really indicate excellent reliability. T-Mobile appealed NAD’s decision.

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<T-Mobile’s 5G network coverage map>

Prohibition of T-Mobile’s advertisements is the result of a report by Verizon to NAD.
Prior to advising T-Mobile, NAD has prohibited Verizon from using a phrase that its 5G network is available nationwide after Verizon’s competitors raised an issue that Verizon’s 5G network does not even cover 1% of the nation. Verizon was provoked by attacks from its competitors and counterattacked T-Mobile which resulted in NAD prohibiting T-Mobile from using a word “reliability”.
Competitions surrounding “the best frequency’ are becoming more intense between American telecommunications companies as they use different 5G frequency bands. T-Mobile uses 600 MHz, 2.5 GHz spectrum (owned previously by Sprint), and 28 GHz spectrum bands. While Verizon mainly uses the 28 GHz mmWave band, it is looking to quickly widen the coverage of its 5G network after being awarded with 3.5 GHz spectrum.
On the other hand, there is not much psychological warfare surrounding 5G frequency bands as the three major telecommunications companies in South Korea use similar spectrum bands for 5G and LTE. Current warfare taking place in the U.S. is similar to the one that took place in South Korea in early 2000s regarding differences in qualities of 800 MHz and 1.8 GHz bands. While lower spectrum band is more advantageous for wider coverage, higher spectrum is band is more advantageous for stable and fast data transmission.
The current conflict between Verizon and T-Mobile is likely to involve the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Verizon made a request to FCC last month that would prevent T-Mobile from renting frequencies within the 600 MHz spectrum band from a broadcasting company Channel 51. It argued that securing additional frequencies within the band will cause a serious threat to competitions within the U.S. market.
“It is interesting to see how Verizon and T-Mobile are having a serious psychological warfare regarding qualities of their 5G network services.” said a representative for a South Korean telecommunications company. “This shows that American telecommunications companies will not back off when it comes to 5G.”
Staff Reporter Park, Jisung | jisung@etnews.com