AT&T’s push into fake 5G has begun and it hasn’t exactly led to the results the carrier was hoping for. Last month, we reported AT&T was going to begin advertising fake 5G on its 4G LTE phones, an endeavor that begun this week. Needless to say, the carrier’s fiercest competitors have responded with some pointed roasts.
In case you are unfamiliar with 5G, it is the next-generation network that carriers have begun to develop that will offer more reliable and faster data speeds. However, the technology has been slow to roll out, and although it’ll be available in 2019 for the first time, customers won’t really experience it until 2020 or possibly 2021 as the technology reaches major cities across the country.
That’s not stopping AT&T from jumping on the hype early with what it is calling 5G E, or 5G Evolution, which is essentially 4G LTE. The carrier this week rolled out an update for a few Android devices that includes a new network icon for 5G E.
But it’s not even 5G, so there’s no reason to call it 5G. Some of the biggest carriers in the U.S. are rightly calling out the misleading tactic.
It began when T-Mobile responded via Twitter to a piece by The Verge that highlighted the absurdity of the situation. “Didn’t realize it was this easy,” read the tweet in jest. Good burn, T-Mobile.
Verizon took a more civilized approach. It cautioned the entire mobile industry not to “over-hype and under-deliver.” It did still poke fun at AT&T, saying, “When we say ‘5G,’ we mean 5G.”
“We will not call our 4G network a 5G network if customers don’t experience a performance or capability upgrade that only 5G can deliver,” said Kyle Malady, Verizon’s chief technical officer in a statement about the whole ordeal.
Even Sprint couldn’t help itself by taking a shot at AT&T. In a statement to Engadget, Sprint CTO John Saw commented, “AT&T is blatantly misleading consumers—5G E is not real 5G.”
At this point, it’s a head scratching decision on AT&T’s part for not completely abandoning the marketing stunt.