Tech

USA carrier deceive its users with a fake 5G icon

USA carrier deceive its users with a fake 5G icon

In a different statement to Mobile World Live, AT&T deployed a bit of whataboutery, saying that Sprint's lawsuit contradicts its merger filing with T-Mobile. The 5G, or fifth generation, mobile network will offer faster speeds and connectivity, as well as larger capacity, Sprint said in its suit.

Sprint is requesting that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NY block AT&T from continuing to use the label "5G E" or any related variant of the label. AT&T calls this "new" network 5GE.

Merging with T-Mobile would allow the fourth-largest US carrier to more aggressively compete with AT&T and Verizon, especially as the 5G war heats up later this year.

According to a report from Engadget, Sprint accuses AT&T of engaging in a "deceptive 5G E campaign" created to confuse and mislead customers into thinking they're enjoying true 5G support. As of this moment in February 2019, there are no 5G-capable phones available for purchase as carriers are just starting to get their 5G networks off the ground. Yesterday, Sprint filed a lawsuit in federal district court alleging that by rebranding its gigabit 4G LTE service as "5G Evolution", AT&T "violates federal and state laws governing false advertising and deceptive acts". But AT&T could well argue that "5G" doesn't actually mean anything, or that it means what carriers say it means. AT&T started this whole mess then it chose to relabel its LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) network as 5G Evolution (5G E). They don't think they are misleading customers, will continue to push the 5G Evolution message, and will fight Sprint's lawsuit.

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".

"But calling its network "5GE" (or "5G E" or "5G Evolution") does not make it a 5G network and instead deceives customers into believing it is something that it is not".

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Sprint conducted a survey of wireless customers to see if people understood the facts about 5G.

T-Mobile also hit out at the firm, accusing it of "duping customers" with the move.

A January report by The Wall Street Journal had noted complaints by Verizon and T-Mobile about AT&T's 5G E claims, though it failed to mention any objections by Sprint specifically. 5G E, as AT&T claims, stands for "5G Evolution", or the precursor to the nationwide 5G networks carriers are beginning to build out.

"We introduced 5G Evolution more than two years ago, clearly defining it as an evolutionary step to standards-based 5G", AT&T said. AT&T offers standards-based 5G in parts of 12 cities, but its first 5G device for sale is a mobile hotspot rather than a phone.

AT&T and Verizon have a small, early lead thanks to several limited deployments. "Customers want and deserve to know when they are getting better speeds", AT&T said in response to the lawsuit.

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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