Telstra’s case against ‘misleading’ Optus network ads dismissed by federal court

Telstra’s court action against Optus regarding claims about the latter’s size and quality of its mobile network the former claimed were misleading has been dismissed.

Telstra’s case regarded a campaign from Optus that consisted of vignettes of regional and urban locations in Australia and featured the line ‘Covering more of Australia than ever before’.

The case, filed in July, argued that this would be misleading to consumers because it suggests that Optus’ network covers more of Australia than all other providers.

Optus contended that all the series conveyed was that “Optus’s mobile network has more geographic coverage than it has ever had before” and that no comparison to other networks had been made.

Federal Court Justice Jayne Jagot agreed with Optus’ argument. She found that the tagline followed by the Optus brand was a clear indication that the ad’s copy was referring to the Optus network, and that “The cascade of different scenes, resolving from rural to urban, each superimposed with the Optus ‘Yes’ logo clearly conveys the message that Optus’s network is available in each of these locations.”

Jagot also agreed with Optus’ submission that “the ordinary and reasonable members of the broad class to whom the advertisements are directed would not be likely to be misled or deceived by the advertisements” and found that the possibility of consumers not knowing Telstra as “vastly superior coverage to Optus” was immaterial. Thus the allegation that consumers will be misled by the advertisements was dismissed.

The court ruled that Telstra has to pay Optus’ costs as agreed or taxed.

Andrew Sheridan, Optus’ VP of regulatory and public affairs, dubbed Telstra’s actions as “unnecessary bullying tactics”.

“Today’s judgement is a win over unnecessary bullying tactics, and more importantly a reminder to all Australians that Optus offers an amazing national network that they don’t have to pay through the nose to enjoy,” he said in a statement.

“Optus has made significant investments to expand our footprint, improve coverage and experience and the ruling is a win for competition, choice and most importantly customers.”

A Telstra spokesperson told Mumbrella: “We are pleased to see Optus did not challenge, and the Court noted that Telstra has vastly superior mobile network coverage.”

The ads were created by Optus’ internal agency, Yes.

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