AT&T has announced that it is ditching its controversial 5G-E branding following claims that it’s misleading.
One morning, some AT&T customers woke up to find a “5G-E” icon in their status bar. Many probably fist-pumped the air in the belief that they’ve been upgraded for free to this latest generation mobile network people have been talking about.
In reality, 5G-E is a LTE network. AT&T argued that it wasn’t misleading as the “E” stands for “Evolution” and the LTE network forms a critical part of the company’s true 5G network.
AT&T’s rivals took the opportunity to mock the operator. A personal favourite was from T-Mobile which posted the following video:
Others took more serious action over concerns that the 5G-E branding may result in people believing they already have 5G and there’s no need to upgrade to other plans.
Sprint sued AT&T and claims it commissioned a survey which found 54 percent of consumers believed the 5G-E networks were the same as, or better than, 5G. A further 43 percent of respondents reportedly believed if they purchase an AT&T device with 5G-E today means that it will be 5G compatible.
The National Advertising Review Board (NARB) recommended that AT&T stops its 5G-E branding. AT&T appealed against a determination that the 5G-E badge and a “5G Evolution, the First Step to 5G” slogan were misleading customers, but it was rejected.
In a statement, AT&T wrote:
“AT&T respectfully disagrees with the reasoning and result reached by the Panel majority. AT&T’s customers nationwide continue to benefit from dramatically superior speeds and performance that its current network provides. As a supporter of the self-regulatory process, however, AT&T will comply with the NARB’s decision.”
AT&T will stop using 5G-Evolution as part of its advertising but hasn’t yet confirmed that the 5G-E icon will be removed from devices.
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this? Attend the co-located 5G Expo, IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo, and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London, and Amsterdam.