Sprint sues AT&T over ‘5G E’ icon as marketing claims heat up
Sprint sues AT&T over ‘5G E’ icon as marketing claims heat up
Sprint files lawsuit against AT&T over its misleading 5G Evolution logo
09 February, 2019, 17:09
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. The 5G, or fifth generation, mobile network will offer faster speeds and connectivity, as well as larger capacity, Sprint said in its suit.
AT&T started rolling out the 5GE label on smartphones last month, and now the icon is appearing on iPhones. AT&T calls this "new" network 5GE.
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 United States have mobile phones, carriers these days typically acquire new customers by pulling them away from competitors.
AT&T is touting its ability to achieve 1.5 Gbps in a field test using its commercial 5G network at the same time it's defending its use of the "5G E" moniker on phones, something Sprint is suing the operator over.
Meanwhile, 43 percent said if they buy an AT&T phone today, it would be capable of running on 5G.
Even though the roll out of 5G smartphones hasn't begun, AT&T has made a decision 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 being taken to task for what some are calling its "fake 5G" technology. Apparently, the said logo is meant to indicate that those phones are using 4G LTE Advanced technology. AT&T says standards-based mobile 5G is available in a few places, though only a $400 mobile hotspot can access it. AT&T is just like Sprint and all the other major wireless carriers now operating a nationwide 4G LTE network.
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AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan recently defended the 5G E branding, saying AT&T's rivals are "frustrated" and that "I have now occupied beachfront real estate in my competitors' heads".
In a lawsuit first discovered by Engadget, Sprint accuses AT&T of employing "numerous deceptive tactics to mislead consumers into believing that it now offers a coveted and highly anticipated fifth generation wireless network, known as 5G".
AT&T claims the "E" in 5G E stands for "evolution", implying that the company is, at some point in the future, going to implement the next wave of wireless service.
"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. 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. The carrier is now in the process of trying to merge with rival T-Mobile. "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".
"AT&T's advertising is false and misleading", Sprintwrote.
Both Verizon and T-Mobile have also called out AT&T for its marketing practices.
Sprint also claimed in their suit that 54 percent of customers they surveyed believed the "5GE" service was true 5G, further reinforcing their false advertising claim. It is not a secret that Verizon, T-Mobile, and even Sprint have their own plans for a mobile 5G wireless network. Customers want and deserve to know when they are getting better speeds.
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