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Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) issues new guidelines relating to the advertising of mobile phone and broadband services

  • New guidelines, which come into force on 1st September 2019, are welcomed by Sean Canny TD, Minister for State for Community Development, Natural Resource and Digital Development.


  • The ASAI to complete the Guideline process with a review of the term ‘unlimited’



20th August 2019


The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI), the independent self-regulatory body committed to promoting the highest standards of marketing communications in Ireland, has

introduced new guidelines relating to the advertising of mobile phone and broadband services.


The guidelines will complement the existing ASAI Code in ensuring that certain marketing terms used by telecommunications operators convey clear meanings that are not misleading to consumers.


The new guidelines were developed as an action resulting from the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce*, which is chaired by Sean Canny TD, Minister for State for Community Development, Natural Resource and Digital Development. The purpose of the Taskforce is to identify measures that could deliver significant improvements in access to high-quality mobile and broadband services throughout Ireland.


The ASAI submitted a Report to the Taskforce in January 2018 which recognised that guidance for the telecom operators in a number of key areas would be helpful. An extensive consultative process followed with strong and positive engagement from key providers and the Guidelines were shared with stakeholders earlier this year. These guidelines, announced today, will come into force on the 1st September 2019.


The guidelines outline the general legal requirements that telecom operators must follow when using marketing terms for mobile phone and broadband services and also provides guidance for the telecoms industry concerning the use of the following specific marketing terms to describe telecommunications in the Irish market:


  • Coverage and Availability
  • Speed claims
  • Fibre


The guidelines also include advice on information resources for consumers, substantiation and terms and conditions / general claims.


For full details on the new guidelines please visit

This Guidance Note represents the completion of part one of a two-part review of telecommunications advertising. Part two relates to the circumstances in which descriptors such as the word ‘unlimited’ are used. The ASAI can confirm that a comprehensive review of these terms will now be undertaken and guidance will be developed. This process will begin in the coming weeks and will include a consultation process with relevant stakeholders, as was undertaken when compiling the new guidelines.


According to Orla Twomey, Chief Executive of the ASAI, the guidelines go a long way in ensuring that telecommunication marketing terms are not used incorrectly to mislead consumers: “Consumers have a right to be confident that the telecommunications ads that they see or hear are accurate and truthful. Following a broad consultation process, we have produced guidelines that aim to help advertisers ensure that their ads are compliant with the ASAI Code.”

“Marketing terms, by their design, are there to attract consumers to buy certain products and are an essential part of business development in the telecoms industry. However, there is the potential to mislead when marketing terms are used incorrectly. To ensure that the Code will remain, at all times, credible and relevant, the ASAI regularly reviews and appriases the Code, taking account of evolving commercial and societal trends.”

Minister of State Canney commented: “I welcome the publication of the guidelines by the ASAI and acknowledge the work that has been undertaken in bringing a key 2019 deliverable to fruition. One of the aims of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce is to improve consumers’ knowledge of the different types of telecommunications services on offer. With the publication of these guidelines, the ASAI has gone a long way to ensuring that consumers will have greater clarity over what they can realistically expect to receive from their broadband or mobile phone package. I look forward to the guidelines being fully implemented by industry.” 

There are a range of resources that can help in designing advertising that does not mislead consumers and of course, the ASAI are also here to help via their Copy Advice service. Just email for details.

or follow the ASAI on Twitter @THE_ASAI


For further information, please contact:

Breda Brown / Clodagh Foley

Unique Media

Tel: 01 5225200 / 085 865 8019 (CF)


Editorial Notes:


The Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce reported in December 20161 and made 40 recommendations across a number of areas.


Recommendation No. 32 related to the ASAI. It stated:

“The Taskforce recommends that the Advertising Standards Authority review advertising in this area. The Taskforce also recommends that operators review their own advertising to ensure they are not creating a false or misleading impression, and also that any consumer who feels they have been misled contact Advertising Standards Authority to enable them to investigate.”


The ASAI willingly engaged to co-operate with the Taskforce to carry out the Review, consistent with the organisations approach to engage with stakeholders in the interests of consumers and society.


During 2017, at the request of the ASAI, the telecoms operators provided circa 450 marketing communications that had been published between October 2016 and March 2017 across a range of media. These marketing communications were reviewed against the ASAI Code with a particular focus on speed, availability and fibre claims.


Meetings with a range of telecoms operators were held where the operators presented on the technologies they used and their capabilities and limitations, and on consumer expectation and knowledge.


About The ASAI:


The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland is financed by the advertising industry and committed, in the public interest, to promoting the highest standards of marketing communications that is advertising, promotional marketing and direct marketing. The objective is to ensure that all commercial marketing communications are ‘legal, decent, honest and truthful’.


Members of the ASAI are required to abide by the Code and not to publish an advertisement or conduct a promotion which contravenes Code rules. The Code covers commercial marketing communications and sales promotions in all media in Ireland including digital (online banners, websites and social platforms), print, outdoor, radio, TV, leaflets/brochures, and direct marketing.


Further information on advertising self-regulation, the ASAI and the operation

of the system is available at



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