BT-owned EE took umbrage at its competitor's claim that it was the only UK provider to offer a ‘real’ next-generation 5G service.
The contentious ad carried the message ‘If it’s not Three, it’s not real 5G’ across newspapers and social media, prompting a formal complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority which will now arbitrate on the matter.
Three has made much of its ownership of three times more of the 5G spectrum than any of its competitors, arising from its strategic acquisition of UK Broadband, a move which has drawn sharp criticism from EE, Vodafone and O2 who fear this has handed Three an unfair ‘competitive advantage’.
Three has doubled down on its perceived advantage by launching a 5G home broadband service in London, allowing customers to do away with a landline connection in favour of a wireless ‘plug and play’ hub.
5G hype has been building as services begin to roll out, leading some commentators to label access as being crucial to the success of a fourth industrial revolution defined by the internet of things.