5G may be a ways off from becoming a readily available network actually used by people, but that isn’t stopping AT&T from jumping the gun and slapping a bogus 5G logo on smartphones.
According to Fierce Wireless, AT&T is prepping to display a “5G E” icon at the top of smartphones running on its network. However, it won’t actually be 5G; it will run on the same 4G LTE network your phone runs on today.
The 5G E name stands for “5G Evolution,” a placeholder network that still runs on LTE but is slightly faster. It’s not really 5G, but AT&T presumes that it’s going there anyway, might as well get a head start and start advertising it now.
You’d be hard pressed to find a casual customers who will be to able to tell the difference between 5G E and real 5G, but then again, that’s probably why AT&T is using the questionable marketing. That’s concerning because Fierce Wireless says that “potentially millions” of people could see the new logo on their phone. Being the first carrier to advertise 5G on their phones could become a good tactic for luring in customers.
Coincidentally, AT&T did something similar with 4G. Prior to the full release of 4G LTE, it unveiled HSPA+, a slightly faster version of 3G, and marketed it as 4G on smartphones including the iPhone.