Today is officially day 1 of CES 2019. We knew that 5G would be a big focus for US service providers at the show this week, but we definitely weren’t expecting Verizon to call out AT&T for changing the 4G LTE icon on select devices to 5G E, tricking them into thinking that they are connected to AT&T’s limited 5G network rollout.
Verizon press releases, titled When we say “5G,” we mean 5G, promises that Verizon will only not deceive its customers into thinking that they are connected to a 5G network and that the 5G label will only be used when they are actually connected to a true 5G network.
The potential for 5G is awesome, but the potential to over-hype and under-deliver on the 5G promise is a temptation that the wireless industry must resist. If network providers, equipment manufacturers, handset makers, app developers and others in the wireless ecosystem engage in behavior designed to purposefully confuse consumers, public officials and the investment community about what 5G really is, we risk alienating the very people we want most to join in developing and harnessing this exciting new technology.
That’s why we’re calling on the broad wireless industry to commit to labeling something 5G only if new device hardware is connecting to the network using new radio technology to deliver new capabilities. Verizon is making this commitment today: We won’t take an old phone and just change the software to turn the 4 in the status bar into a 5. We will not call our 4G network a 5G network if customers don’t experience a performance or capability upgrade that only 5G can deliver.
Verizon is also calling on other service providers to do the same. While we have yet to see an official statement from T-Mobile on the matter, the company’s Twitter account did post the following Tweet a day or two ago.
didn’t realize it was this easy, brb updating pic.twitter.com/dCmnd6lspH
— T-Mobile (@TMobile) January 7, 2019