Sprint sues AT&T, claims ‘5G E’ branding is false advertising

Alfred Osborne
February 9, 2019

AT&T did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment. What AT&T touts as 5G, however, is nothing more than an enhanced fourth-generation Long Term Evolution wireless service, known as 4G LTE Advanced, which is offered by all other major wireless carriers.

The test was conducted in the field using a mobile form factor test device, and AT&T told FierceWireless that it plans to roll out this network upgrade across its network as quickly as possible, enabling its early adopters to be some of the first in the U.S.to start benefiting from the performance enhancements these upgrades will enable "in the near future".

AT&T is so desperate to get ahead in 5G that it's prematurely displaying "5GE" icons on phones that absolutely do not support faster 5G cellular speeds.

The four major carriers in the USA are all rushing headlong into 5G.

While a 5G smartphone has yet to be released, AT&T updated its phones to replace the "LTE" symbol commonly found atop of its consumer's mobile screens with "5Ge", which some say suggests that its phones are ready for the fifth generation of mobile tech. The big blue carrier calls it "5G Evolution", or "5G E" for short, and it is not 5G technology at all.

It appears that for now, AT&T is doubling down on the concept that consumers aren't confused by "5G E" and don't believe it's the same as 5G-NR, the technology that most of the industry calls "5G".

As it stands, Sprint's the only carrier taking legal action against AT&T for it's fake 5G network.

It was, in fact "a transparent attempt to influence consumers" purchasing decisions by deceiving them into believing that AT&T's network-because it claims to be a 5G wireless network-is more technologically advanced and of higher quality than those of other wireless service providers, including Sprint, ' alleges the complaint. We are "being clear with our customers, this is an evolutionary step to 5G".

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'But calling its network 5GE does not make it a 5G network and instead deceives customers into believing it is something it is not, ' it continues.

The lawsuit, first reported by Engadget, focuses on the idea that consumers will purchase AT&T phones because they incorrectly believe they will provide 5G service.

"We introduced 5G Evolution more than two years ago, clearly defining it as an evolutionary step to standards-based 5G", AT&T said. T-Mobile CEO John Legere was less restrained.

"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. AT&T's service is not 5G-ready or capable, and they have pulled stunts like this in the past. "Customers want and deserve to know when they are getting better speeds", AT&T said in response to the lawsuit.

Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile agree.

And Sprint's 100 percent correct.

Sprint also argues that AT&T's deception is working on some level, citing a survey it commissioned that shows 54% of polled consumers believing that "AT&T's "5GE" network is the same as or better than a 5G network", while 43% of consumers believe that AT&T is now selling phones that are capable of connecting to 5G networks.

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