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

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

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

Sprint, the fourth-place wireless carrier, has now filed a lawsuit against AT&T for its blatantly misleading advertising. AT&T is suggesting to users that although it is not a real 5G, it still provides a faster network than the traditional 4G.

Sprint is requesting that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NY block AT&T from continuing to use the label "5G E" or any related variant of the label.

If you're an AT&T customer with a high-end handset, you may have noticed the "5GE" radio indicator pop up at the top of your screen after a recent Android update.

T-Mobile US Chief Executive Officer John Legere called the ploy "fake" 5G, among other unprintable words, on the Bellevue company's earnings call Thursday.

According to a report from Engadget, Sprint accuses AT&T of engaging in a "deceptive 5G E campaign" created to confuse and mislead customers into thinking they're enjoying true 5G support.

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Cedit: AT&T "By making the false claim that it is offering a 5G wireless network where it offers only a 4G LTE Advanced network, AT&T is attempting to secure an unfair advantage in the saturated wireless market", the lawsuit filed Friday (Feb. 8) in U.S. District Court in NY alleges. But AT&T hasn't yet flipped the switch on its standards-based 5G network, and there are no 5G-capable phones on the market. "AT&T's "5G E" network is a 4G LTE Advanced network, just like the networks of Sprint and the other major wireless service providers, none of which are mischaracterizing their 4G LTE Advanced networks as 5G". 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.

"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. Their argument is that 5G Evolution and the 5GE logo "simply let customers know their device is in an area where speeds up to twice as fast as standard LTE are available". We introduced 5G Evolution more than two years ago, clearly defining it as an evolutionary step to standards-based 5G.

T-Mobile also hit out at the firm, accusing it of "duping customers" with the move. "AT&T's deceptive ads have harmed consumers by persuading them to purchase or continue purchasing AT&T's services based on the lie that they are offering 5G". It's 100% misleading garbage, that AT&T is fully aware of. "Customers want and deserve to know when they are getting better speeds", AT&T said in response to the lawsuit.

Sprint said that a survey showed 54 percent of AT&T's consumers believed their "5G E" network is the same as or better than a 5G network and 43 percent said if they buy an AT&T phone today, it would be capable of running on 5G. 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. It is not a secret that Verizon, T-Mobile, and even Sprint have their own plans for a mobile 5G wireless network.

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