Sprint is suing AT&T for misleading consumers with "5G E" branding

09 February, 2019, 17:09 | Author: Sammy Rose
  • Sprint is suing AT&T for misleading consumers with

AT&T is touting its ability to achieve 1.5 Gbps in a field test using its commercial 5G network at the same time it's defending its use of the "5G E" moniker on phones, something Sprint is suing the operator over.

Sprint is right in this instance; all of the "Big Four" wireless carriers have deployed LTE-A networks in select markets, but only AT&T has made a decision to go one step further by trying to piggyback on the emergence of true 5G networks as a competitive advantage.

"AT&T's false and misleading statements deceive consumers into believing that AT&T now operates a 5G wireless network and, through this deception, AT&T seeks to induce consumers to purchase or renew AT&T's services when they might otherwise have purchased Sprint's services", Sprint says. The network operator filed a lawsuit in federal court with the sole objective of preventing AT&T from using the 5G Evolution logo on its devices or any advertising materials.

The Washington Post's Brian Fung spoke to one of Sprint's lawyers this morning and said the carrier is "going it alone", without plans to involve other carriers in the suit.

Sprint, however, didn't take such a light-hearted approach, instead filing a lawsuit accusing AT&T of "damaging the reputation of 5G while [Sprint] works to build out a legitimate early entry into the 5G network space".

AT&T continued its defiance today. There is the outright lie involved in suggesting something is 5G when it isn't and then there's the damage done to Sprint competitively and the outright damage done to the U.S. telecoms market by deceiving it into thinking 5G is already here.

"We introduced 5G Evolution more than two years ago, clearly defining it as an evolutionary step to standards-based 5G", AT&T said. What AT&T touts as 5G, however, is nothing more than an enhanced fourth-generation Long Term Evolution wireless service, known as 4G LTE Advanced, which is offered by all other major wireless carriers.

AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson told CNBC Friday morning that the company feels "very comfortable" with the "5G E" moniker.

Sprint is suing AT&T for misleading consumers with

AT&T said it "will fight this lawsuit while continuing to deploy 5G Evolution in addition to standards-based mobile 5G", and that "customers want and deserve to know when they are getting better speeds".

AT&T does have a mobile 5G network out there in the wild, with an expansion planned for the rest of 2019 and beyond.

A January report by The Wall Street Journal had noted complaints by Verizon and T-Mobile about AT&T's 5G E claims, though it failed to mention any objections by Sprint specifically.

The war of words between America's top carriers over 5G branding has now devolved into a lawsuit. Sprint contends in the lawsuit, published by Engadget, that AT&T is "deliberately deceiving consumers" into thinking their 4G phones have been upgraded to 5G.

Solé went on to claim that AT&T marketing practices is devaluing 5G for the entire industry. "AT&T's deceptive ads have harmed consumers by persuading them to purchase or continue purchasing AT&T's services based on the lie that they are offering 5G".

Sprint commissioned a survey and found that 54 percent of consumers mistakenly believe AT&T's "5G E" is "the same as or better than a 5G network".

Cedit: AT&T "By making the false claim that it is offering a 5G wireless network where it offers only a 4G LTE Advanced network, AT&T is attempting to secure an unfair advantage in the saturated wireless market", the lawsuit filed Friday (Feb. 8) in U.S. District Court in NY alleges.

While 4G LTE Advanced is certainly more capable than standard LTE, it isn't 5G in any real sense.

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