Published: Sat, February 09, 2019
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AT&T’s fake 5G icon is now the subject of a Sprint lawsuit

AT&T’s fake 5G icon is now the subject of a Sprint lawsuit

Sprint has filed a lawsuit against competitor AT&T over the latter's use of "5G E" branding on certain phones. The 5G, or fifth generation, mobile network will offer faster speeds and connectivity, as well as larger capacity, Sprint said in its suit. 5GE is not 5G, it's not better, and no current AT&T phone will ever connect to a real 5G network.

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. It also found that 43 percent of respondents said that they would consider buying an AT&T phone labeled as 5G E, as they believe that they would be receiving a true 5G smartphone.

No ordinary phones on the market can yet connect to faster 5G networks, but several are expected soon from Samsung, Lenovo's Motorola, and others.

Last month, AT&T customers saw a "5G E" logo on their mobile devices in over 400 markets - even though they were still on a 4G network.

AT&T in recent weeks has begun replacing the "LTE" symbol at the top of some smartphones with a new icon that says "5G E", which stands for "5G Evolution".

AT&T also took a shot at Sprint's claims that it can't deploy a robust 5G network unless United States regulators approve its proposed merger with T-Mobile. In those spots, AT&T is rebranding its LTE Advanced and LTE Advanced Pro technologies as 5G Evolution. AT&T has been widely criticized for its 5G E tactic, but there's no indication that the company cares or is even the least bit interested in reversing course.

Sprint files lawsuit against AT&T over its misleading 5G Evolution logo

AT&T has employed numerous deceptive tactics to mislead consumers into believing that it now offers a coveted and highly anticipated fifth-generation wireless network, known as 5G.

AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson told CNBC Friday morning that the company feels "very comfortable" with the "5G E" moniker.

'But calling its network 5GE does not make it a 5G network and instead deceives customers into believing it is something it is not, ' it continues. The carrier is now in the process of trying to merge with rival T-Mobile. There is the outright lie involved in suggesting something is 5G when it isn't and then there's the damage done to Sprint competitively and the outright damage done to the U.S. telecoms market by deceiving it into thinking 5G is already here.

Both Verizon and T-Mobile have also called out AT&T for its marketing practices. Customers want and deserve to know when they are getting better speeds.

"Sprint will have to reconcile its arguments to the FCC that it can not deploy a widespread 5G network without T-Mobile while simultaneously claiming in this suit to be launching 'legitimate 5G technology imminently, '" AT&T said.

The lawsuit, first reported by Engadget, focuses on the idea that consumers will purchase AT&T phones because they incorrectly believe they will provide 5G service. "AT&T's false and misleading statements deceive consumers into believing that AT&T now operates a 5G wireless network and, through this deception, AT&T seeks to induce consumers to purchase or renew AT&T's services when they might otherwise have purchased Sprint's services", the suit alleges.

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