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ASAI Issues New Guidelines For Advertising Mobile Phone and Broadband Services

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ASAI Issues New Guidelines For Advertising Mobile Phone and Broadband Services

ASAI Issues New Guidelines For Advertising Mobile Phone and Broadband Services
August 23
12:00 2019

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI), the independent self-regulatory body committed to promoting the highest standards of marketing communications in Ireland, has introduced new guidelines relating to the advertising of mobile phone and broadband services. The guidelines will complement the existing ASAI Code in ensuring that certain marketing terms used by telecommunications operators convey clear meanings that are not misleading to consumers.

The new guidelines were developed as an action resulting from the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce, which is chaired by Sean Canny TD, Minister for State for Community Development, Natural Resource and Digital Development. The purpose of the Taskforce is to identify measures that could deliver significant improvements in access to high-quality mobile and broadband services throughout Ireland.

The ASAI submitted a Report to the Taskforce in January 2018 which recognised that guidance for the telecom operators in a number of key areas would be helpful. An extensive consultative process followed with strong and positive engagement from key providers and the Guidelines were shared with stakeholders earlier this year. These guidelines, announced today, will come into force on the 1st September 2019.

The guidelines outline the general legal requirements that telecom operators must follow when using marketing terms for mobile phone and broadband services and also provides guidance for the telecoms industry concerning the use of the following specific marketing terms to describe telecommunications in the Irish market:

  • Coverage and Availability
  • Speed claims
  • Fibre.

The guidelines also include advice on information resources for consumers, substantiation and terms and conditions/general claims. For full details on the new guidelines please visit asai.ie.

This Guidance Note represents the completion of part one of a two-part review of telecommunications advertising. Part two relates to the circumstances in which descriptors such as the word ‘unlimited’ are used. The ASAI can confirm that a comprehensive review of these terms will now be undertaken and guidance will be developed. This process will begin in the coming weeks and will include a consultation process with relevant stakeholders, as was undertaken when compiling the new guidelines.

According to Orla Twomey, Chief Executive of the ASAI, the guidelines go a long way in ensuring that telecommunication marketing terms are not used incorrectly to mislead consumers: “Consumers have a right to be confident that the telecommunications ads that they see or hear are accurate and truthful. Following a broad consultation process, we have produced guidelines that aim to help advertisers ensure that their ads are compliant with the ASAI Code.”

“Marketing terms, by their design, are there to attract consumers to buy certain products and are an essential part of business development in the telecoms industry. However, there is the potential to mislead when marketing terms are used incorrectly. To ensure that the Code will remain, at all times, credible and relevant, the ASAI regularly reviews and appriases the Code, taking account of evolving commercial and societal trends.”

Minister of State Canney commented: “I welcome the publication of the guidelines by the ASAI and acknowledge the work that has been undertaken in bringing a key 2019 deliverable to fruition. One of the aims of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce is to improve consumers’ knowledge of the different types of telecommunications services on offer. With the publication of these guidelines, the ASAI has gone a long way to ensuring that consumers will have greater clarity over what they can realistically expect to receive from their broadband or mobile phone package. I look forward to the guidelines being fully implemented by industry.”

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