IS AT&T FALSELY SELLING 4G AS 5G?

Sprint has sued the wireless carrier, AT&T for allegedly falsely branding its 4G network as 5G technology.

For those who are not in pace with modern times, the term ‘G’ means ‘Generation.’ Hence ‘5G’ is the fifth generation of wireless technology which means it would use technology that enables super-fast speed along with many other benefits. Many telecom companies today, however, still use ‘fourth generation’ or’4G’ technology as it is normally referred to.

In December, the first 5G network was launched in the United States by AT&T (T), which also happens to own Warner Media. Reportedly the access to the 5G network is extremely limited and is currently running only in 12 cities. The network can be accessed by using a particular hotspot only which was on sale in December on an invitation basis only.

AT&T is the only carrier so far to have launched its ‘5G’ platform, apart from its competitor ‘Verizon’ who has launched a home broadband product called ‘5G Home’. However, reports suggest that the product does not qualify in terms of the accepted 5G standards.

It takes many years to set up and build a 5G network. AT&T had upgraded its 4G network with a fourth-generation technology called LTE – Advanced. LTE – Advanced technology was already in use by AT&T’s competitors like Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint across most of their networks. It is believed that LTE – Advanced technology can double the speed of the older 4G network technologies.

While its competitors labeled their LTE- Advanced technology as ‘4G’, AT&T termed its LTE- Advanced technology ‘5G’. It didn’t stop there but even went on to update its phones’ software to display a “5GE” indicator.

In a statement made by AT&T, they said “We introduced 5G Evolution more than two years ago, clearly defining it as an evolutionary step to standards-based 5G,” and further added “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 is available.”

In a federal court in the Southern District of New York, Sprint has filed a case against AT&T accusing them of cheating.

Sprint, in its lawsuit clarified “AT&T … has sought to gain an unfair advantage in the race to 5G by embarking on a nationwide advertising campaign to deceive consumers into believing that its existing 4G LTE Advanced network is now a 5G network,” They further explained, “This technology is indisputably not 5G. Adding an ‘E’ or the word ‘Evolution’ to 5G does not mitigate the deception.”

Sprint intends to ban AT&T from branding its network as ‘5G’ claiming that it is a case of false advertising and mis-selling.

A spokesperson from Sprint said “The reality is that this network isn’t ‘new’ and ‘5G E’ is a false and misleading term,”

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