Telstra has once again lost out to Optus in an advertising-related legal challenge, this time over allegations the latter telco misled customers about the size of its mobile network.
A Federal Court Judge has dismissed a legal case by Telstra alleging that Optus’ advertising slogan “covering more of [Australia/State] than ever before” was misleading, calling the former’s claim “untenable”.
Telstra has now been ordered to pay Optus’ court costs, as Justice Jayne Jagot reiterated Optus’ ads references only its own network coverage and did not weigh negatively on those of other providers.
“This is a meaningful message for Optus to convey given the importance of retaining and obtaining customers to its network,” she said.
“The customers would want to know that Optus is making material improvements to its geographic reach. Such a claim would not be unremarkable as it would show a provider committed to improving a key matter for consumers.”
As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, Telstra first brought the case against Optus in July this year,
As part of the lawsuit, Telstra requested an injunction to prevent Optus from making the assertions, requested the removal of the ads and a corrective notice to be issued on its website.
“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,” said Andrew Sheridan, Optus VP of regulatory and public affairs.
“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.”
Telstra was also contacted for comment by ARN.
The two telcos have a history of taking each other to court over claims made in advertising messaging.
In May last year, Optus won a Federal Court proceeding over Telstra ads with the tagline: "One word from Australia’s best mobile network. Unlimited".
A judge at the time agreed with Optus that the ads falsely conveyed the representation that Telstra offers a mobile product or service that is unlimited.
That same month, Telstra took Optus to court alleging that Optus' claim of having the "best Australian mobile network" was misleading.
However, this was subsequently dismissed by the Supreme Court of Victoria, which agreed that Optus did not engage in misleading or deceptive conduct over its "empires end" advertisement.