Court sides with Optus over Telstra, lifts injunction on 'Empires End' advertisements

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Court sides with Optus over Telstra, lifts injunction on 'Empires End' advertisements

A judge has ruled in Optus' favour over an advertising campaign criticising rival Telstra, lifting a ban filed earlier this month on displaying the ads.

The Victorian Supreme Court's decision came after the court granted Telstra an injunction on 16 May, shortly after the suit was filed on 11 May.

“Telstra has failed to establish that Optus has engaged in conduct that is misleading or deceptive, or likely to mislead or deceive, in contravention of [the Australian Consumer Law]; or that Optus has made false or misleading representations as to its services,” Justice Robson said in the ruling.

“Telstra’s pleaded representation is not one that is conveyed by the conduct complained of.”

Robson also shut down the claim that Optus’ ads conveyed that its mobile network is “undisputedly better” than Telstra’s.

"It would be fanciful to imagine that the humorous image of a Telstra phone box in a desert landscape would persuade a reasonable person that Telstra’s strong position in the market has been permanently destroyed," Robson said.

A spokesperson from Telstra told CRN: “This is a disappointing decision and surprising given the Judge’s original position.

“Regardless of any advertising by our competitors, the fact remains we offer our customers Australia’s largest and fastest mobile network and we connect millions more Australians than anyone else.”

Telstra took Optus to court over the campaign, which spruiks the results of a mobile network benchmark commissioned by P3 Connect, which showed that Optus was the leader in voice and Telstra was the leader in data performance.

The advertisements appeared online and on large digital banners that read “Empires end. That’s what they do” with an image of a telephone box half-buried in sand in the background.

Optus' Empires end advertisement

A spokesperson from Optus told CRN that the company was pleased with the outcome.

“We believe Australians should know that Optus offers them a real alternative with an award winning mobile network that delivers great value for customers,” a spokesperson from Optus said.

“I’d also like to acknowledge our internal agency, Yes Agency, who developed the creative for this campaign.”

“Optus will continue to invest and compete for customers with a national, premium quality network that continues to improve and expand, and deliver customers great value plus exclusive must-have sports and entertainment content.”

Last week, the Federal Court of Australia also ruled in favour of Optus in a separate lawsuit against Telstra and its “unlimited” data advertisements, granting its request for injunctive relief.

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