EE, the UK’s sole purveyor of 4G LTE for mobile devices, is reportedly being examined by the Trading Standards Institute.
According to the Telegraph, the network provider has been accused of “misleading” advertising practices by the business regulator’s Plymouth branch.
The investigation is based on a complaint that singles out a poster in a Plymouth shop which sports the slogan “4G is here." This claim is likely inaccurate, as EE’s 4G service is currently only available in 11 cities nationwide, though it is expected to spread to 16 cities by Christmas. The nearest 4G signal to Plymouth is, in fact, in Bristol - over 100 miles away.
“The use of the word 'here' could be misleading,” read a line from an email sent by Trading Standards in response to the local resident's complaint.
EE is defending its intentions, saying that the poster was displayed in its Plymouth store in error.
“The wrong poster was put up in one of our Plymouth stores. We have over 700 EE stores across the country and would like to stress this was an isolated error for which we apologise. The poster has since been removed,” said an EE spokesperson.
The trading practices adjudicator believes that this may be a “nationwide problem," as EE is running a widespread campaign for its next-gen network.
“We have launched a new brand, across the UK, as well as a new 4G service, which is rolling out to 98 per cent of the population by the end of 2014,” explained EE.
“For this reason it is important that we raise awareness of the new brand and network, through a national campaign across the UK, even in those areas that do not yet have 4G coverage. However, we won’t be advertising 4G overtly in those stores that are not in 4G covered cities.”
The complaint has been passed on to the Hertfordshire Trading Standards office, who are thought to be better suited to deal with the issue due to their proximity to EE's head-office in Hatfield.