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Some companies have criticized or poked fun at AT&T for its fake 5G icon, but Sprint has taken its response one step further.
More specifically, the fourth largest U.S. carrier has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to place an injunction that would prevent AT&T from using its 5G E icon on devices or in marketing materials.
Interestingly, Sprint said in the lawsuit that it commissioned a survey regarding the 5G E icon.
- According to the results of that survey, 43 percent of respondents said they believed that current AT&T devices were 5G capable (they’re not).
- Also, 54 percent said they thought the 5G E networks were the same as or better than 5G networks (they aren’t).
Sprint’s argument, basically, is that AT&T’s 5G E icon is false advertising and uses deceptive acts and practices to gain an “unfair advantage.” Essentially alleging that AT&T is trying to get a leg up by disguising its 4G LTE netowrks as something else.
Additionally, Sprint says the 5G E icon is damaging the reputation of actual 5G networks — including the “legitimate early entry” into the space that Sprint is working on.
AT&T, for its part, said that it will fight the lawsuit while continuing to deploy 5G Evolution across the U.S. (presumably, with the 5G E icon in tow).
“We understand why our competitors don’t like what we are doing, but our customers love it,” AT&T said in a statement to Engadget.
The telecom firm went on to say that it has been “clearly defining” 5G E as an “evolutionary step to standards-based 5G.” In this case, standards-based 5G means actual 5G. In their eyes, the 5G E indicator is just a way to “let customers know when their device is in an area” with faster LTE speeds.
And as part of the clapback, AT&T also said that Sprint will need to “reconcile its arguments to the FCC that it cannot play a widespread 5G network without T-Mobile while simultaneously claiming in this suit to be launching ‘legitimate 5G technology imminently.’”
The 5G E indicator was first rolled out onto Android devices last month and hit iOS devices in the latest iOS 12.2 betas. Despite the 5G monitor, AT&T’s 5G Evolution is essentially just an upgraded version of 4G LTE using technology like 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM (which are available on other carriers as well).