EE rapped for misleading coverage map

Mobile service provider EE has been censured by The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over misleading information provided by its online coverage map.

The ASA ruled that the mobile provider must provide more explicit warnings that its map is only a guide, and not a guarantee of service.

One user of EE found that the company falsely claimed that service in his area would be "excellent".

The map does already come with the caveat that it "is only a guide and not a guarantee of service availability in a particular location."

The warning goes on to state that "as with all radio-based systems, service may be affected by a number of local factors, such as building materials, tree cover and weather conditions."

However, the ASA's report argued that the claims for the map "were presented in language that was not conditional", and that "the overall impression of the ad was such that it was likely to be understood to mean that fast reliable internet access and high quality calling was available... to consumers in the relevant postcode."

EE offered a statement in defence of its position, pointing out that "in this instance, we deemed coverage to be Excellent in the postcode as confirmed by testing that found over 98% of the postcode had an excellent signal."

Luckily EE customers have 14 days to cancel their contract if they find the coverage to be unsatisfactory.

It's thought that other mobile providers that offer online coverage maps will have to amend the language surrounding these promotional tools. In the meantime, sceptical users can log on to independent coverage maps RootMetrics and OpenSignal, and get a reading from there.

Formed in 2010, EE is a 50-50 joint venture between Orange SA and Deutsche Telekom, and resulted from a merger of their Orange and T-Mobile operations. It is the largest mobile network provider in the UK, with around 28 million customers – nearly half of the population.