South Africa’s Advertising Regulatory Board is taking Rain to task over misleading adverts. 

Rain is South Africa’s first and only wireless network which has promoted itself as being better than the traditional options when it comes to connecting to the internet. 

Rain first launched a 4G SIM and has recently announced a standalone 5G offering for South African consumers. 

The issue with the Board has come about since a complaint was laid by Suvasin Moodley against the company for misleading advertising. 

In the ruling, Moodley stated that the company misled him and other consumers by advertising 24/7 connectivity, a choice of network speeds and a choice in streaming quality.

The Board found that 24/7 connectivity was untrue as the connection for their 5G network often dropped, there is no choice in network speeds and what is given varies wildly and there is no choice of streaming quality, it is often poor.

The Board honed in on two aspects of the complaint when referring to their decision on the adverts put out by rain. These were that the average download speed is over 200 Mbps and that there is unlimited 24/7 connectivity. 

Download speed of over 200 Mpbs 

The Board considered Moodley’s complaint that speeds vary and are often not over 200 Mbps as promised. According to the Boards standards, company’s are meant to be able to prove what they can promise generally, even if one unit doesn’t operate as expected. 

Rain responded by claiming it was an issue with Moodley specifically but could not prove they could offer sustained speeds for all customers and so the Board found them in contravention of advertising rules, resulting in the claim being ruled misleading. 

Unlimited 24/7 connectivity 

The Board noted that it’s difficult to identify what exactly this claim means as it can be interpreted in multiple ways. Moodley thought it meant that the service is available all the time.  While the unlimited part isn’t an issue, he claimed that the connectivity wasn’t available all the time. 

Rain argued that data is never limited because they don’t charge per gig but did not address the 24/7 issue. As a result, the Board argued that the dual interpretation meant the advert is ambiguous and so misleading.

Removing adverts

The Board has ordered Rain to remove the offending adverts and amend them to fall in line with their ruling.  

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