Orange has been forced to drop a £4 million print ad campaign, which claimed its 3G service "covers more people in the UK than any other operator," after the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) stepped in.
Three made the complaint to the ASA last September, disputing the claims made by the rival, insisting its own 3G network was the largest.
The ASA ruled in a statement: "The Orange 3G network covers more people in the UK than any other operator', was ambiguous and likely to mislead consumers because it did not make clear whether it was referring to population or geographical coverage."
Orange hit back at the ruling claiming: "Whilst we accept the ASA's ruling we feel this decision effectively gags us, and the rest of the industry from talking about our networks as according to the ASA our claims are not directly comparable."
"What's of most frustration is the company who raised the complaint, Three, has started to use the same claim that we have been banned from using - the biggest 3G network by population. This is absurd and makes a mockery of the ASA's ruling," Orange added in a statement.
The ASA is billed as the UK’s independent watchdog committed to maintaining high standards in advertising for the benefit of consumers and advertisers alike.