Dec 21st, 2018

AT&T has confirmed that it will soon be rolling out an update to smartphones on its network which will change the LTE icon in the status bar to 5G E when the devices connect to network towers which feature 
 4×4 MIMO, LAA and 256 QAM. To be clear, these technologies has been classified as advanced 4G LTE network equipment, not 5G. AT&T’s “5G E” indicator will display on smartphones in 400 markets across the US, fooling customers into thinking that their phones are connected to AT&T’s new G network. 

“If they have one of the latest Android devices and it connects to a tower that’s enabled with 5G Evolution, they’ll soon see a “5G E” indicator pop up on their screen. Initially we’ll roll this out on a handful of devices, with more devices showing the indicator in spring 2019.”

AT&T Spokesperson

The term “5G Evolution” was introduced by AT&T in 2017 to describe markets which featured higher 4G LTE speeds which was achieved by upgrading its network with new advanced equipment. While AT&T’s true G network is officially launching today in 12 markets across the US, the first hotspot and smartphones capable of connecting to the new network will not be released until 2019. Those device will display a “5G+” icon in the status bar to indicate when they are connected to AT&T’s 5G mmWave network. 

This isn’t the first time that service providers have manipulated customers in this manner. T-Mobile and AT&T both labeled HSPA+ as 4G and Sprint tried to convince the world that its WiMax network was just as good as LTE. 

Source: FierceWireless

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