AT&T customers who thought that smartphones had been updated to 5G were misled by a fake icon appearing on some devices. The US carrier has updated Samsung and LG smartphones to show the 5G icon, despite that fact that none of the devices support the next-generation mobile network.
Three smartphones have received the network update; the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active, the LG V30, and the LG V40. The phones now show 5G connectivity icons at the top of the display (pictured below) but it is all a marketing ploy.
The Samsung and LG devices have been updated to boost speed on AT&Ts LTE network, but don't be fooled into thinking this is real 5G. Instead of the old LTE icon, AT&T now shows a "5G E" icon. The clue is supposed to be in the "E", but it is a misleading piece of marketing whichever way you look at it.
AT&T has started branding portions of its LTE network as 5G Evolution. The upgraded parts of the network under the new branding are faster than regular LTE, but the move is nothing new. Other US carriers have already implemented similar upgrades. The bottom line is that the technology is still LTE, and not 5G.
AT&T claims that its rebranded 5G E network can reach average real-world speeds of 40Mbps. That's not exactly what we'd call 'next generation'.
The 5G E logos are expected to roll out to even more smartphones soon. A total of 17 smartphones are capable of connecting to the 5G Evolution network. AT&T says that 5G E will be available in 400 markets within the coming days.
For comparison, Verizon currently has the same tech live in 1,100 markets, whilst T-Mobile has already deployed the upgrade, often referred to as LTE Advanced and Advanced Pro, in around 920 markets.
T-Mobile reacts to AT&T's 5G E icon
T-Mobile, known for its shenanigans on Twitter, did not take long to poke fun at the news of AT&T's new 5G E network. The rival carrier posted a reply to a tweet breaking the news from The Verge. It contained a short video showing somebody placing a 9G sticker over the current LTE icon at the top of an iPhone with the text: "didn’t realize it was this easy, brb updating."
.— T-Mobile (@TMobile) 12 September 2018
We've been here before, remember. When transitioning from 3G to 4G, a similar scramble for marketing claims took place. The latest stunt by AT&T, however, is one of the boldest moves we've seen for a while.
What do you think about the AT&T's "5G E" network? Fair play, or deceptive marketing? Have your say!
Source: The Verge