Vodacom has forced Telkom to remove its claim of having South Africa’s biggest and fastest fibre network, following a successful Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) complaint.
Telkom’s fibre-to-the-home advertisements featuring Usain Bolt stated: “The next generation of fast is here. Get Telkom’s Boltspeed fibre on SA’s biggest and fastest fibre network”.
Vodacom lodged a complaint with the ASA against the advertisement, arguing that Telkom has a small fibre subscriber base and does not offer very high speeds.
“Telkom only offers a 100Mbps fibre product on its website, whereas other providers offer substantially faster services, i.e. Seacom (800Mbps), MWEB/Vumatel (1Gbps), and Cybersmart (400Mbps),” said Vodacom.
“The fibre network market is currently fragmented, as it consists of numerous providers. It is therefore unlikely that Telkom would be in a position to offer the biggest fibre network in South Africa.”
Telkom responded, saying its network claim does not make reference solely to “fibre” or “fibre services”, but to its “fibre network”.
Telkom cited a Department of Communications document, which states that “Telkom’s network is the most extensive, connecting virtually every city and town”.
Telkom also referenced numerous news sources, which stated it has the largest fibre network in the country.
Looking at its speed claims, Telkom said it is common cause that the fastest access to the Internet is achieved through fibre networks.
“If fibre is the fastest network, and if Telkom commands the largest fibre network in the country, Telkom’s fibre network is the biggest and fastest in South Africa,” the company argued.
The ASA was not convinced by Telkom’s arguments. It said the sources cited by Telkom to substantiate its “biggest fibre network claims” were not reliable.
The ASA further said that Telkom’s peak speed of 100Mbps is slower than other services.
“Telkom’s claim that it has SA’s biggest and fastest fibre network is currently unsubstantiated,” the ASA ruled.
The ASA ruled that Telkom must withdraw this claim with immediate effect.