Sprint sues AT&T over 'misleading' 5G E icon

ATT 5G Evolution

Sprint has filed a lawsuit in federal court against AT&T, claiming their "5G E" branding is misleading consumers. There's just one problem: AT&T doesn't offer phones that support 5G yet, and what it brands as "5G E" is actually just 4G LTE Advanced. Sprint wants AT&T to be prevented from using "5G" in any of its ads until it's proper 5G and it wants as much cash as possible in damages.

AT&T is lying to customers.

The four major carriers in the USA are all rushing headlong into 5G. In the lawsuit, Sprint said 54 percent of consumers believe AT&T's 5GE network is the same or better than a 5G network, and 43 percent think if they buy a smartphone through AT&T today, the phone will be 5G-capable.

AT&T successfully tested a new software update on its live commercial 5G+ network, which resulted in speeds over 1.5 Gbps, he said, noting that speed doesn't reflect current user-experienced 5G+ speeds, which are lower and will vary. "It deceives consumers into believing that AT&T's mobile devices operate on a 5G network when, in truth, those "5G E" devices operate on the same 4G LTE Advanced network that those AT&T customers were already using". AT&T calls it 5G Evolution, and it is meant to show when a phone is within range of its enhanced 4G network. 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.

'.[AT&T] has sought to gain an unfair advantage in the race to 5G by embarking on a nationwide advertising campaign to deceive consumers into believe that its existing 4G LTE Advanced network is now a 5G network.

As it stands, Sprint's the only carrier taking legal action against AT&T for it's fake 5G network.

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"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", Sprint said in the suit, published by Engadget.

"We understand why our competitors don't like what we are doing, but our customers love it". Speaking after his company's quarterly earnings report on Thursday, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said he had concerns.

The company plans to fight the lawsuit, and will continue to deploy 5G Evolution even as it builds out its real, standards-based mobile 5G network.

AT&T issued its own statement that acknowledged a distinction between its 5GE service and "standards-based 5G" service. "That's what 5G Evolution is, and we are delighted to deliver it to our customers".

AT&T's strategy, which arguably amounts to trickery, has been categorized by many as misleading at best and purposefully deceptive at worst. "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.'" Sprint and T-Mobile are still awaiting the fate of their proposed merger. In 2010 and 2011, first T-Mobile, then AT&T started calling the 3G HSPA+ technology "4G" for marketing reasons; eventually the ITU, the global body which decides these things, rolled over and declared that to be fine.

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