Sprint sues AT&T over 5G branding

Sprint sues AT&T over ‘5G E’ marketing calling it deceptive and misleading

Sprint sues AT&T over ‘5G E’ marketing calling it deceptive and misleading

Users also believed that their AT&T phone was already 5G capable.

"AT&T is deliberately deceiving consumers into believing that their existing 4G LTE network operates on a coveted and highly anticipated 5G network", a Sprint spokeswoman told Barron's.

Even though the roll out of 5G smartphones hasn't begun, AT&T has chose to replace the 4G icon on select devices with a 5G E symbol in areas with support for AT&T's fastest LTE technologies. AT&T is also building a 5G network, which could be 10-to-40 times faster than current 4G LTE networks, but is now wrongly using the 5GE label, Sprint argued. AT&T has simply added some technology that can potentially deliver speeds slightly faster than LTE.

"We understand why our competitors don't like what we are doing, but our customers love it", AT&T said in a statement provided to Tom's Guide. There is, in reality, nothing "5G" about AT&T's "5G E" network, and AT&T has received a lot of justified criticism for trying to pass off 4G LTE Advanced as some kind of 5G implementation.

AT&T introduced the 5GE brand two years ago but without much fanfare.

"We feel very comfortable with how we've characterized the new service that we're launching", AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in an interview on CNBC. The network operator filed a lawsuit in federal court with the sole objective of preventing AT&T from using the 5G Evolution logo on its devices or any advertising materials. Rival wireless carrier Sprint is suing the company over its claims, calling 5GE a "false and misleading" label created to deceive customers into thinking AT&T's service is faster and better than others. All three carriers have denounced AT&T's decision, saying that it gives 5G a bad reputation and will mislead customers.

Each of the four major players in the USA telecom industry-Sprint, AT&T, Verizon Communications (VZ), and T-Mobile US (TMUS)-has been racing to deploy a next-generation 5G network, with several small-scale rollouts in a few markets already active.

Sprint officials have talked about the carrier's latest and fastest service and have called it Advanced LTE.

Through the suit, Sprint aims to stop AT&T from using designations and terms related to 5G such as 5GE, 5G-E, or 5G Evolution.

AT&T is lying to customers.

By rolling out these phony "5GE" icons, Sprint says AT&T's distorted the definition of actual 5G to "secure an unfair advantage in the saturated wireless market". 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. It's 100% misleading garbage, that AT&T is fully aware of.

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 did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 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. T-Mobile and Verizon have both pushed back against this in their own way.