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Telus has a history of rewarding shareholders with dividend growth, according to Yield Hog panelist Tony Demarin of BCV Asset Management. (SHAUN BEST/Shaun Best/Reuters)
Telus has a history of rewarding shareholders with dividend growth, according to Yield Hog panelist Tony Demarin of BCV Asset Management. (SHAUN BEST/Shaun Best/Reuters)

Wireless

Telus sues Rogers over ad claims Add to ...

The wireless phone company with the cute and cuddly animals is baring its fangs.

Telus Corp., whose advertisements are known for colourful goats and frogs, is suing its rival Rogers Communications Inc. for what it claims are false and misleading advertisements that suggest the latter's cellphone and data network is faster and more reliable than Telus's own network.

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The dispute stems from the fact that Telus launched a new high-speed network two weeks ago, which it says brings it up to speed with the Rogers service, and thus blunts long-held claims of superiority made by Rogers.

Telus says Rogers spurned requests made two weeks ago to remove its ads, prompting the Vancouver-based cellphone company to file a statement of claim in the Supreme Court of British Columbia seeking damages.



Rogers has no network advantage and should not be misleading Canadians with false superiority claims. Shawn Hall, senior communications manager with Telus


Telus is requesting relief under criminal competition laws that could potentially reach millions of dollars in damages.



"Rogers has no network advantage and should not be misleading Canadians with false superiority claims," said Shawn Hall, senior communications manager with Telus, who acknowledged that Rogers did have a legitimate claim on superiority until the Telus upgrade two weeks ago.

"Competiton this year is fierce. That is in consumers' best interest, but it should be based on good advertising," Mr. Hall said Wednesday.

Rogers responded with a declaration that they intend to defend their position. "Telus has not submitted any data on their network performance," the company said. "We stand behind our claims. All of our internal and third party external testing since 2007 has consistently demonstrated that we have the most reliable network."





The dispute comes at a moment for the industry in which Bell, Rogers, and Telus now all offer essentially a similar product suite and speed of service, which makes carving out a distinct market position extremely difficult. Together, the three providers control about 90 per cent of the Canadian market.

The suit parallels another in the United States, where AT&T has sued the wireless carrier Verizon Communications Inc. for claiming in advertisements that the latter's network is larger.





We stand behind our claims. All of our internal and third party external testing since 2007 has consistently demonstrated that we have the most reliable network. Rogers statement


Playing on the popular iPhone marketing catch phrase, "There's an app for that," Verizon's campaign deploys a map of the U.S. illustrating AT&T's apparently inferior coverage, with the tagline, "There's a map for that." On Monday, Verizon responded that AT&T filed its lawsuit not because Verizon's ads were misleading, but because they're true and, "the truth hurts."

When Telus opened its new high-speed network on Nov. 5, it quietly posted maps on its website that sought to show its network is broader than Rogers.



Mr. Hall refused to say whether those coverage maps would be used in a large advertising campaign planned for the holiday season.

Experts say the onus is on Telus to prove Rogers is improperly benefiting from its marketing campaigns.

"Whatever claims Telus makes, it has to show actual damage to Telus," said Steve Szentesi, a competition lawyer based in Vancouver.







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