United States carrier deceive its users with a fake 5G icon

Isaac Cain
February 9, 2019

Many experts believe that the tech-which could deliver speeds that are 100 to 200-times faster than 4G-won't arrive at scale for at least another two years.

Sprint will seek a temporary restraining order against AT&T to cease the 5GE commercials and labeling as soon as possible, a lawyer for the company said. AT&T customers are seeing 5GE where an LTE icon once appeared.

The four major carriers in the US are all rushing headlong into 5G. We previously wrote about AT&T Samsung phones getting a "5G E" icon with the Android Pie update.

Meanwhile, 43 percent said if they buy an AT&T phone today, it would be capable of running on 5G. This decision to brand 4G LTE Advanced connections as 5G E is one that's drawn a lot of ire from consumers and competitors alike, but AT&T pushed forward, releasing advertisements touting 5G Evolution and updating phones on its network to carry the questionable branding. "Sprint's argument is that what AT&T is doing is damaging the reputation of 5G, while it works to build out what it calls a 'legitimate early entry into the 5G network space'". Sprint will have to reconcile its arguments to the FCC that it can not deploy a widespread 5G network without T-Mobile while simultaneously claiming in this suit to be launching 'legitimate 5G technology imminently, ' " AT&T said. Instead, this is AT&T's sneaky way of branding their improved 4G LTE technology, which may now be slightly faster due to carrier aggregation and 4x4 MIMO antennas.

The lawsuit, which was uploaded to Scribd by Engadget, alleges that AT&T is partaking in false and misleading advertising to gain an unfair advantage over its competitors.

Rival telecom firm Sprint filed a lawsuit against AT&T late Thursday, saying it was misleading consumers into believing they were using fifth generation or 5G wireless networks, a technology that has not yet been widely deployed.

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AT&T's Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson said in an interview here with CNBC that the company's customers are seeing an increase in speed and performance on the "5G E" network and this is a step required to get to "ultimate 5G".

T-Mobile also hit out at the firm, accusing it of "duping customers" with the move. Sprint will have to reconcile its arguments to the FCC that it can not deploy a widespread 5G network without T-Mobile while simultaneously claiming in this suit to be launching "legitimate 5G technology imminently". "We've brought the "5G E" indicator to some of our most popular and capable smartphones simply to help customers know when they are in an area where the enhanced wireless experience may be available", the statement said.

AT&T issued its own statement that acknowledged a distinction between its 5GE service and "standards-based 5G" service.

"I don't think AT&T's use of "5G E" is Sprint's biggest problem", Piecyk said. In 2010 and 2011, first T-Mobile, then AT&T started calling the 3G HSPA+ technology "4G" for marketing reasons; eventually the ITU, the global body which decides these things, rolled over and declared that to be fine.

Shares of AT&T (t) and Sprint (s) were down 1% on Friday in midday trading.

According to Sprint, a survey showed that 54% of consumers believe that the "5G E" network is the same or even better than a real 5G network.

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