Nobody seems to be happy with AT&T's 5G Evolution (known as 5GE) advertising tactic but now somebody is doing something about it. Sprint is suing AT&T over its fake 5G ploy that is actually just plain old 4G LTE.
Sprint filed a lawsuit with the federal court that argues AT&T's fake 5GE is damaging the reputation of 5G by offering customers a degraded experience. According to Sprint, it commissioned a survey asking customers what they think of AT&T's 5GE network and 54-percent of them said they believe it is better than 5G and 43-percent of them believe they can go into an AT&T store right now and purchase a 5G-enabled smartphone.
None of those are true and serve as the basis for Sprint's lawsuit. AT&T is successfully fooling customers into believe 5G is here, which it is not, and worse yet, it will sully the reputation of 5G as customers experience basically the same 4G LTE speeds instead of the promised hundreds of Mbps to 1Gbps speeds 5G will potentially offer.
The end goal for Sprint is to prevent AT&T from using the 5GE tags on its devices.
Sprint provided Engadget with a statement on the lawsuit:
We understand why our competitors don't like what we are doing, but our customers love it. We introduced 5G Evolution more than two years ago, clearly defining it as an evolutionary step to standards-based 5G. 5G Evolution and the 5GE indicator simply let customers know when their device is in an area where speeds up to twice as fast as standard LTE are available. That's what 5G Evolution is, and we are delighted to deliver it to our customers.
We will fight this lawsuit while continuing to deploy 5G Evolution in addition to standards-based mobile 5G. Customers want and deserve to know when they are getting better speeds. Sprint will have to reconcile its arguments to the FCC that it cannot deploy a widespread 5G network without T-Mobile while simultaneously claiming in this suit to be launching "legitimate 5G technology imminently."
Of course, this isn't the first time fake networks have been advertised. Prior to the release of 4G LTE, AT&T and T-Mobile both marketed their 3G HSPA+ networks as 4G before the full roll out of 4G LTE. Devices like the iPhone 4S and multiple Android handsets stated the phone offered 4G in the signal but those devices didn't even have the proper antennas to access 4G LTE. It seems nothing has changed.