Vodafone Website Advertisement
12 February 2010
Complainant: T. Bromhead
Advertisement: Vodafone New Zealand Limited
Complaint: The website advertisement for "Internet on your mobile" contained the following information: "It lets you access the internet anywhere, anytime from your mobile. And all for jst $1 a day for 10MB (Only on the days that you use it). So you can Update your Facebook(TM) on the bus, Read the Newspaper while sitting in the park, Check your Trade Me auction while walking the dog.
How much data do I use? 10MB is roughly equal to:
250 browsed web pages
300 text only or emails
12 minutes of You Tube
100 Facebook(TM) photos*"
Complainant, T. Bromhead, said the website advertisement at http://www.vodafone.co.nz/mobile-data/mobile-web.jsp for Internet on your Mobile was misleading. In particular "Under the "How much data do I use"? it is implied 10MB of data is "roughly equal to" "250 browsed web pages".
On the same page 3 typical web pages are suggested:
I roughly measured the size of several typical pages on those sites:
Facebook user homepage: 1.434MB
NZHerald homepage: 652KB
Typical NZ herald story page: 642KB
TradeMe homepage: 516KB
TradeMe product page: 555KB
Average size: 759KB Page views in 10MB: 13
In addition I tested some other typical New Zealand pages:
vodafone.co.nz homepage 471KB
vodafone internet on your mobile page 429KB stuff.co.nz 1.26MB apple.co.nz 628KB tvnz.co.nz 1.52MB
Average Size of all: 810.7KB
Page views in 10MB: 12
12 pages is a long way from 250.
Vodafone's average of 40KB per page is grossly underestimated these days.
Most consumers aren't savy enough to realise the size of pages, and thus this advertising is misleading."
The relevant provision was Rule 2 of the Code of Ethics.
The Advertiser, Vodafone New Zealand, said:
"...This complaint concerns data estimates found on Vodafone's "Internet on your Mobile" webpage at http://www.vadafone.co.nz/mobile-data/mobile-web.jsp, set out below: (Statement)
10MB is roughly equal to:
The Statement was generated by Vodafone New Zealand Limited (Vodafone). No advertising agency was involved in the creation of the Statement.
The Statement was created following testing of data usage using a mid range mobile device. The "browsed web pages" referred to within the Statement concerned the mobi web-pages which this device automatically accessed. Mobile specific web pages use smaller amounts of data than regular web pages, as the content that is accessed is compressed. As the page refers to "Internet on your mobile", and referred to accessing the Internet "anytime from your mobile", we believe that it is clear that the Statement refers to accessing the Internet from your mobile phone, and not from a desktop computer.
We note that the complainant used a desktop computer, rather than a mobile device, to measure the data usage of the aforementioned websites. We also note the highest data reading supplied by the complainant came from http://www.stuff.co.nz, which was not a website that was referenced by the Statements.
However, we accept the measurements obtained by the complainant through his desktop computer were equivalent to those than could have been obtained by an iPhone or similar Smartphone device. Smartphone devices are capable of accessing regular web pages, and accordingly the data estimates included within the Statement are not accurate in respect of these devices.
Further, we accept that the Statements did not adequately outline that the data estimates supplied:
were taken by lower level mobile devices, and accordingly recorded lower data usages;
applied to compressed mobi-sites only, and were not accurately reflective of data usage for regular web pages;
and were not reflective of data usage that would be incurred by Smartphones that could automatically access regular web pages.
In light of this we have amended the data estimate in respect of browsed web pages to "100" rather than "250". Clarification in respect of Smartphone devices has been added to read: Data estimates are based on measurements taken from compressed mobi-sites. Some Smartphones may access regular websites The amended web page will be online from 2 February 2010.
In light of the action taken in response to this complaint, we ask that the Board consider this matter Settled. We would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any confusion caused by the Statement, and thank the complainant for drawing this discrepancy to our attention. ..."
The Chairman noted the explanation received from Vodafone and the undertaking given to alter the advertisement. Accordingly, she said the matter had been settled in a self-regulatory manner and it would serve no further purpose to place it before the Complaints Board for consideration.
The Chairman ruled that the complaint was settled.
Chairman's Ruling: Complaint Settled