AT&T will stop using the term 5G Evolution to describe an enhanced type of 4G. Rival T-Mobile convinced an arbitration panel on Wednesday that the description is misleading.
This apparently means iOS and Android handsets will stop informing customers that they’re connected to a 5G E network.
Update: AT&T will stop including 5G Evolution in its advertising, but will continue to put the 5GE icon on iPhones and Androids connected to its improved 4G LTE network.
The AT&T 5GE network was always 4G
Last spring, AT&T created 5G Evolution. The carrier called it the first step toward the faster speeds promised by 5G. But a study found the offering wasn’t any faster than 4G LTE.
iPhone and Android handsets started showing a “5GE” icon when connected to AT&T’s LTE network with 4×4 MIMO, Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (256 QAM) and other enhancements. Other carriers reserve the term 5G to mean a completely different, and much faster, technology.
It’s going away… sort of
Competing telecoms objected to this use of 5G. And because “5G” is a marketing term not a technical one, rival T-Mobile took its complaints to the National Advertising Review Board, a unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation.
Today, NARB determined that the term 5G Evolution will “mislead reasonable consumers into believing that AT&T is offering a 5G network,” according to a statement from the group. It recommended the company discontinue using the term “5G Evolution.”
AT&T stated that it “respectfully disagrees with the reasoning and result reached by the Panel majority,” but it will comply with the NARB’s decision.