AT&T displaying 5GE logo on devices connected to LTE Advanced network
AT&T’s decision to put “5GE” indicators on Android and potentially Apple devices connected to the carrier’s LTE-Advanced network — which it has branded as “5G Evolution” — has drawn widespread criticism from media, analysts and the telecom industry at large. Now that criticism has been formalized with Sprint filing suit against its rival, calling AT&T out for “false advertising” and misleading customers.
The complaint, filed Feb. 7 with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleges: “AT&T has employed numerous deceptive tactics to mislead consumers into believing that it currently offers a coveted and highly anticipated fifth generation wireless network, known as 5G. What AT&T touts as 5G, however, is nothing more than an enhanced fourth generation Long Term Evolution wireless service, known as 4G LTE Advanced, which is offered by all other major wireless carriers.”
“AT&T, meanwhile, has sought to gain an unfair advantage in the race to 5G by embarking on a nationwide advertising campaign to deceive consumers into believing that its existing 4G LTE Advanced network is now a 5G network. AT&T calls this ‘new’ network, ‘5GE.’”
AT&T provided this statement to Engadget: “We understand why our competitors don’t like what we are doing, but our customers love it. We introduced 5G Evolution more than two years ago, clearly defining it as an evolutionary step to standards-based 5G. 5G Evolution and the 5GE indicator simply let customers know when their device is in an area where speeds up to twice as fast as standard LTE are available. That’s what 5G Evolution is, and we are delighted to deliver it to our customers.
We will fight this lawsuit while continuing to deploy 5G Evolution in addition to standards-based mobile 5G. Customers want and deserve to know when they are getting better speeds. Sprint will have to reconcile its arguments to the FCC that it cannot deploy a widespread 5G network without T-Mobile while simultaneously claiming in this suit to be launching “legitimate 5G technology imminently.”
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