It seems the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) does not agree with Truphone’s claim that its Tru SIM services are “truly global” despite the fact that the service works in 223 countries. The ASA has censured Truphone for describing its service as such.

A complaint was received by the ASA about adverts making the claim, who challenged the genuine global nature of the service. The Truphone website stated “The Tru SIM saves you money, wherever you are in the world, without changing the way you use your phone”. Further text on the website described the product as “The truly global SIM”.

Because of the far-reaching nature of the Tru SIM service, Truphone said their service was indeed “truly global” and that, in the context of a mobile phone service, the average consumer would consider these countries to cover the phrase “wherever you are in the world”.

Truphone said, because their service worked in 223 countries, they provided a “truly global” service and that, in the context of a mobile phone service, the average consumer would consider these countries to cover the phrase “wherever you are in the world”. They said there were 19 locations where only their emergency call back method was available but that these locations were mainly remote with little or no inhabitancy. The company believed the average consumer was unlikely to have heard of most of these locations and would be unlikely to require a mobile phone to use there and, because there was a perceived difficulty in obtaining a service at these locations, consumers who required a full service would conduct research into availability. Truphone also mentioned the rate checker on their website, which allows consumers to check service availability and charges when making calls from and to any location and, in the instances where their full service was not available, the rate-checker showed that outgoing calls were not available.

Truphone also showed evidence that only 1.24% of the estimated seven billion people in the world were not covered by their service and, because their service is available to 98.76% of the global population, the claims of having a “truly global” network that provides service “wherever you are in the world” were not misleading.

However, The 19 locations where the full service was not available included Somalia, North Korea, Burma and Eritrea and several island countries and island territories, many of which include a large number of people and are locations most customers have heard of. As a result of this, the ASA ruled that Tru had “breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.9 (Qualification)” and had to stop advertising their services as “truly global.”

Do you agree with the ASA’s decision?

  • Adam Kelly

    I vote if it covers more than 95% of the population, it should be able to advertise as global. You don’t see these ASA people going after beer commercials for implying that you get a hot chick when you drink when the complete opposite is usually true. Tru’s services reach an astounding 98+% of the global population. Let’s not nitpick the people living in the middle of nowhere. I mean, REALLY.

  • Bilesha Wellton

    Seriously? Look at the map. How is that NOT truly global?!

    • Charles Brenon

      While they’re coverage is quite good, I can see what the problem is. They’re advertising it as “Truly Global” which implies “100% of the world.” The article states that it covers “98.76% of the population.”

      Like it or not, it’s still implied false advertising.