AT&T Falsely Advertises New 4G LTE Services As Being Equal to 5G Services

By Bill Toulas / December 22, 2018

5G is all the hype right now, and it seems that some telecommunication service providers may reach the verge of being accused of false advertising in order to claim that they were the first to offer it. AT&T is following this approach after deciding to use a '5G E' logo on the phones of customers that will, in fact, get a 'boosted' version of a 4G LTE network. The company actually clarified that this is done in the context of representing their new network technology named '5G Evolution', implying that the term is 'on the road to 5G'.

Consumers, however, are unlikely to receive that 'long-shot' message, so competitors and market analysts accuse AT&T of deliberate targeted consumer misleading tactics. Neville Ray of T-Mobile has characterized this move by AT&T (and similar deceptive tactics by Verizon) as indicative of the fact that: “Dinosaur cable companies who have done nothing to innovate for years know that 5G is an existential threat to their home broadband monopoly and they’re scared of having to compete instead of continuing to hold customers hostage to high-priced plans, so they’re making last-ditch efforts to stay relevant.”

To AT&T’s defense, they do deploy several speed-boosting technologies on their new 4G LTE package, including carrier aggregation, 4X4 MIMO, LLA, and 256 QAM. These systems have the potential to significantly increase the speeds that users enjoy, and the provider claims that they are paving the way to the actual 5G services. Yet the fact that the network still is technically a 4G remains unchanged, so presenting it as '5G Evolution' is creating a false premise. In addition to this, the 'E' character on the mockup logo is easy to miss so it makes the whole approach clearly cunning.

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Whatever others may think of it, AT&T will proceed with their decision as they clarified that the new logo will arrive in a handful of devices by spring 2019. After all, they had done the exact same thing when their 3G HSPA+ was displayed as 4G on the phones of its customers. With all that going on until the 'real 5G' standard becomes widely available by all other telecommunication service providers, AT&T will be the only ones to offer that pseudo-5G network. They may not actively advertise this through bold claims, but many consumers are bound to get confused and possibly even convinced that AT&T is the first to offer 5G.

Do you believe that consumer protection organizations should take action against deceptive tactics like the above? Let us know where you stand on the matter in the comments section below, and don’t forget to like and subscribe on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

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