Sprint Sues AT&T Over Fake 5G

Sprint Sues AT&T Over Fake 5G

The lawsuit, first reported by Engadget, focuses on the idea that consumers will purchase AT&T phones because they incorrectly believe they will provide 5G service.

Sprint accuses AT&T of running an advertising blitz that is "falsely and misleadingly stating that AT&T offers its wireless service on a 5G network" and incorrectly telling customers their phones are operating on a 5G network when they are instead connected to a 4G LTE network. AT&T also took a stab at Sprint, stating that it "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'". Sprint's argument is that what AT&T is doing is damaging the reputation of 5G, while it works to build out what it calls a " legitimate early entry into the 5G network space". AT&T started this whole mess then it made a decision to relabel its LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) network as 5G Evolution (5G E). "That's what 5G Evolution is, and we are delighted to deliver it to our customers".

The tension grew over the past several weeks as some iPhones and Androids began displaying AT&T's 5G E symbol near the network coverage bars at the top of phone screens. AT&T's response to the suit seems downright freakish and off-topic, especially given that average consumers likely don't know the difference between 5G and 5G E, AT&T's marketing efforts notwithstanding. Sprint has filed a lawsuit in federal court, seeking an injunction preventing AT&T from using the 5GE icon on its smartphones. Compounding the confusion, 17 percent of respondents said they already have 5G-and a full quarter of people who answered "yes" to the question, "Do you know what 5G means?" said they already have it. In those spots, AT&T is rebranding its LTE Advanced and LTE Advanced Pro technologies as 5G Evolution. "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". Since 2017, it has been building the "5G E" brand name for its LTE-Advanced network. AT&T is planning to fight this lawsuit, while it continues to deploy 5GE, as well as its regular mobile 5G network. "Speaking on CNBC, he "'we've done our [homework] around how we characterize this, ' calling 5G E a critical step to achieving 5G" according to Washington Post Tech Reporter Brian Fung.

"AT&T's advertising is false and misleading", Sprint wrote.

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Sprint is suing AT&T over branding changes that portray LTE Advanced networks as "5G Evolution." . AT&T calls this "new" network 5GE. AT&T is just like Sprint and all the other major wireless carriers now operating a nationwide 4G LTE network. 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. AT&T is just like Sprint and all the other major wireless carriers now operating a nationwide 4G LTE network.

Sprint said that a survey showed 54 percent of AT&T's consumers believed their "5G E" network is the same as or better than a 5G network.

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.

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