Telstra has lost a court case against rival Optus over advertisements it claimed could mislead consumers on whose mobile network had better coverage.

The advertisements stated that Optus was now “covering more of [Australia/State] than ever before.”

Telstra unsuccessfully argued the advertisements would be understood as a comparison to the reach of its own network.

Optus, in turn, said “no such representations are conveyed and that all that is conveyed by the advertisements is that Optus’s mobile network has more geographic coverage than it has ever had before,” according to a judgment.

“In other words, according to Optus, the advertisements do not convey any comparison between Optus’s network and the network of any other telecommunications provider,” Justice Jayne Jagot wrote.

“I agree with Optus’s contentions. When each advertisement is viewed as a whole Telstra’s contentions as to the representations conveyed are untenable.”

The advertisements contained “no reference to any provider other than Optus” and instead contained only Optus branding.

“By the time the final image and the allegedly offending words are reached the viewer knows that the advertisement is about the areas where Optus’s mobile network is available,” the judgment states.

“The viewer will construe the statement “covering more of [Australia/State] than ever before” followed by the word “Optus” as meaning that Optus is covering more of [Australia/State] than ever before”

“The words ‘ever before’ do not suggest that Optus has achieved something no telecommunications provider has achieved ever before.”

The Federal Court dismissed Telstra’s case and ordered it to pay Optus’ costs.

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