Court orders Telstra to shelve 'Unlimited' ads for three years

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Court orders Telstra to shelve 'Unlimited' ads for three years

The Federal Court has ordered Telstra not to run its ‘unlimited’ data advertising campaign for a period of three years, after it ruled that Telstra's ads were misleading during a court judgement in May.

“The court orders that [Telstra] be restrained for a period of three years from publishing, broadcasting, communicating and otherwise distributing; and causing the publication, broadcast, communication and distribution of [the unlimited ads],” Justice Gleeson said in the order. The proceeding was then dismissed by consent. 

Optus welcomed the closure of the case, calling it a success.

"Optus took the action against Telstra because it felt the advertisement was likely to mislead consumers," an Optus spokesperson told CRN.

"Our action has been comprehensively vindicated by the judgement and the offending advertisements have been removed from the market."

Telstra meanwhile said it respects the court ruling, saying that it has changed the wording of the campaign by using 'peace of mind data' instead.

"We respect the court ruling concerning a small component of the advertising materials used to launch our BYO Endless Data, published in May," a Telstra spokesperson told CRN.

"We changed the wording of our advertising to use the phrase ‘Peace of Mind Data’ across all our subsequent marketing campaigns. Peace of Mind Data on selected plans allows customers to use their smartphones and mobile devices without worrying about excess data charges."

During the proceedings, Optus specifically questioned the ads containing the words “One word from Australia’s best mobile network: Unlimited”, saying that there was no qualification or explanation accompanying it.

The judge agreed, saying that Telstra falsely conveyed that it offered mobile products that were unlimited on either the data speeds, volume of data that can be downloaded at unrestricted speeds, or a user’s ability to download data without interruption or delay.

Telstra also sued Optus in May, and was granted an injunction over its rival’s “Empires End” advertising campaign, which spruiked the results of a mobile network benchmark, wherein Optus was the leader in voice and Telstra was the leader in data performance.

The Victorian Supreme Court ultimately sided with Optus, lifting the injunction after five days. The case is still ongoing.

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