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AT&T Accused By Rivals Of Misleading Consumers With 'Fake 5G'

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Telecom giant AT&T Inc. (T) has been accused by its rivals for misleading consumers regarding its 5G network.

The accusations come as AT&T is reportedly updating phones with its 5G Evolution technology and replacing the LTE icon on devices with an icon that reads 5G E. Rivals are accusing AT&T of misleading consumers by not actually upgrading them to a 5G service, as it is really based on 4G LTE technology.

Verizon and T-Mobile have lashed out against AT&T over its marketing term 5GE that implies devices are connected to a 5G network. They have criticized AT&T for marketing an upgrade to its existing 4G LTE network with a 5G moniker.


Verizon did not name AT&T, but noted in a blog post that while the potential for 5G is awesome, the wireless industry must resist the potential to over-hype and under-deliver on the 5G promise.

"We won't take an old phone and just change the software to turn the 4 in the status bar into a 5. 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," Kyle Malady, Chief Technology Officer of Verizon said in the blog post.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere also accused AT&T of not just bad marketing, but a "flat out lie."

He said on Twitter that AT&T should be ashamed of themselves "for slapping 5G e on something that is actually LTE …"

"5G e is nothing more than LTE-A....and guess what, @TMobile has more LTE-A than they do!!," Legere added.

5G or fifth-generation technology aims at higher capacity than current 4G networks, allowing a higher density of mobile broadband users, and supporting device-to-device, more reliable, and massive machine communications.

5G will also mean much lower latency, or the time taken for the network to recognize that a user has requested a chunk of data and to start sending that data.

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