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09 February 2019, 05:07 | Casey Mitchell
Sprint files lawsuit against AT&T over its misleading 5G Evolution logo
What started out on some Android phones has now rolled over to some iPhones, and, as a result, Sprint is ready to throw down the gauntlet in front of AT&T. 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 says in the lawsuit that competition within the wireless industry, specifically between the big four carriers, is fierce, and since most people in the USA have mobile phones, carriers these days typically acquire new customers by pulling them away from competitors. I have personally already encountered AT&T customers who believe their Samsung phone now has 5G.
While a 5G smartphone has yet to be released, AT&Tupdated its phones to replace the "LTE" symbol commonly found atop of its consumer's mobile screens with "5Ge", which some say suggests that its phones are ready for the fifth generation of mobile tech. "Sprint's argument is that what AT&T is doing is damaging the reputation of 5G, while it works to build out what it calls a 'legitimate early entry into the 5G network space'".
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"AT&T is so anxious about how limited their 5G footprint will be that they've renamed their existing LTE network '5G Evolution" said the firm's Neville Ray.
AT&T is accused of numerous acts of deliberate deception around its attempt to promote its LTE Advanced service 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. 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 United States telecoms market by deceiving it into thinking 5G is already here.
5G Evolution and the 5GE indicator let customers know when their device is in an area where speeds up to twice as fast as standard LTE are available, AT&T said. Sprint contends in the lawsuit, published by Engadget, that AT&T is "deliberately deceiving consumers" into thinking their 4G phones have been upgraded to 5G.
"We introduced 5G Evolution more than two years ago, clearly defining it as an evolutionary step to standards-based 5G", AT&T said.
T-Mobile also hit out at the firm, accusing it of "duping customers" with the move. AT&T's service is not 5G-ready or capable, and they have pulled stunts like this in the past. "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". That's thanks in large part to AT&T's bogus "5G E" marketing. It's 100% misleading garbage, that AT&T is fully aware of.
But AT&T has yet to switch on such a network for smartphones, prompting Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprintto pile on with tweets, full-page ads in print media and other statements condemning the rhetoric.
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Sprint also argues that AT&T's deception is working on some level, citing a survey it commissioned that shows 54% of polled consumers believing that "AT&T's "5GE" network is the same as or better than a 5G network", while 43% of consumers believe that AT&T is now selling phones that are capable of connecting to 5G networks.
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