Verizon’s 5G promise: It won’t falsely claim 4G phones are really 5G

AT&T 5GE phone branding

AT&T 5GE phone branding

They're pushing an update to Samsung phones that passes off their LTE-A with carrier aggregation, LAA, 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM as 5G-E (fake 5G), and now T-Mobile and Verizon are calling them out on it.

AT&T's 5G E stands for 5G Evolution, but it's just 4G LTE.

In an interview with Tom's Guide, AT&T's Senior Vice President for Wireless Technology, Igal Elbaz, stated that the carrier isn't trying to mislead its customers. The customer will think that Verizon is behind, because AT&T has it. That's separate from the standards-based 5G network that AT&T and others are building. First, AT&T isn't really upgrading anyone with eligible devices to their 5G service.

The advertising and marketing applications for 5G will be numerous, especially with the improvement in video download speeds that reduce the possibility that mobile users will get frustrated with slow service.

In the spirit of maintaining customer trust, Verizon called on the entire wireless industry to label something 5G "only if new device hardware is connecting to the network using new radio technology to deliver new capabilities" [Verizon's emphasis]. Verizon 5G isn't ready for mobile use yet, but it's a bigger change than simply relabeling a 4G phone as 5G.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere addressed the situation in his recent 2019 predictions blog post, saying that AT&T would "basically be lying to their customers" with this 5G E icon and promising that he and the rest of T-Mo "will continue to call them on it".

The company has been investing heavily in its next generation 5G network, which will become the backbone of its largest business. Yeah, T-Mobile was one of the offenders, just like AT&T. AT&T will also use millimeter-wave spectrum for higher speeds, but didn't provide details on when that will go live or how extensively it will be deployed. It's a bit surprising to see T-Mobile and Verizon essentially join forces to mock AT&T, but that happened this week. Instead of launching smartphones first. It hasn't said anything about launching any 5G pucks, but there are some 5G hotspots announced at CES that would work with T-Mobile and Sprint's 5G networks - which have yet to roll out.

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