Back towards the end of 2018, AT&T announced that they would begin rolling out a change in icon on devices to start showing “5G E” in place of LTE. This is rather disingenuous because what AT&T is offering isn’t actually “5G”. Verizon has already called out AT&T for the misleading use of the name, and it looks like Sprint isn’t having any of this either.
In a statement made to Engadget, Sprint CTO Dr. John Saw did not mince any words when he said:
“AT&T is blatantly misleading consumers — 5GE is not real 5G.”
The company also issued a longer statement that mentioned their plans to launch “real” 5G in the first half of 2019.
“Sprint will launch and market real 5G that is standards-based in the first half of 2019. We’re designing our mobile 5G footprint at launch to cover the downtown metro areas of 9 top cities, with sights on providing our customers with contiguous coverage using the first 5G smartphone in the US.”
Sprint is not alone in launching 5G coverage this year. Pretty much all the major carriers have confirmed their plans to do so. However, there is the question of compatible devices because as it stands, there are no smartphones that can support 5G. This is also expected to change this year as companies such as Samsung, Huawei, and OnePlus are all expected to launch 5G compatible handsets this year.
What we are interested in seeing is how they might handle in terms of battery life, which was a significant problem when the first LTE-compatible handsets were released back in 2010 and 2011.