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Sprint Sues AT&T To Block 5GE Wireless Service Label

09 February, 2019, 17:09 | Author: Tara Roberts
  • Sprint files lawsuit against AT&T over its misleading 5G Evolution logo

AT&T did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment. The company has said the label reflects the fact that AT&T is on the pathway to rolling out a mainstream 5G network, which could eventually support download speeds up to 100 times faster than the current standard.

The four major carriers in the US are all rushing headlong into 5G.

Smartphones running on both Android and Apple's iOS platforms are sporting "5G E" for AT&T customers, even though those phones are not equipped to support 5G.

Despite trying to convince consumers that 5G E is different from 4G, OpenSignal measurements in late 2018 found that AT&T's average download speeds nationwide were slower than Verizon's and T-Mobile's 4G networks. That's because AT&T has made it so that phone manufacturers need to show "5G E" instead of "4G LTE" in some markets. AT&T says 5GE is meant to lay the groundwork for what it's calling 5G+, which will launch later this year. Sprint is less cool with it than Verizon and T-Mobile and has chose to file a lawsuit in federal court to try and stop AT&T from using its sneaky, completely made-up evolutionary network technology term.

"Sprint will have to reconcile its arguments to the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] 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'". In those spots, AT&T is rebranding its LTE Advanced and LTE Advanced Pro technologies as 5G Evolution.

The lawsuit, which was uploaded to Scribd by Engadget, alleges that AT&T is partaking in false and misleading advertising to gain an unfair advantage over its competitors.

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.

AT&T said it "will fight this lawsuit while continuing to deploy 5G Evolution in addition to standards-based mobile 5G", and that "customers want and deserve to know when they are getting better speeds".

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Crawford didn't report the incident at the time as he was afraid of getting fired, The Miami Herald previously noted. Oakley survived a recall effort in 2018 but did not run for re-election to her seat.

AT&T's "5G E" will be tested in court. Speaking after his company's quarterly earnings report on Thursday, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said he had concerns. AT&T offers standards-based 5G in parts of 12 cities, but its first 5G device for sale is a mobile hotspot rather than a phone.

But AT&T has yet to switch on such a network for smartphones, prompting Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint to pile on with tweets, full-page ads in print media and other statements condemning the rhetoric.

AT&T's strategy, which arguably amounts to trickery, has been categorized by many as misleading at best and purposefully deceptive at worst.

"I don't think AT&T's use of "5G E" is Sprint's biggest problem", Piecyk said.

"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, '" AT&T said.

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.

"We introduced 5G Evolution more than two years ago, clearly defining it as an evolutionary step to standards-based 5G", AT&T said.

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