A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) recommended that AT&T discontinue its "5G Evolution" advertising claims.
And AT&T said it will.
"AT&T respectfully disagrees with the reasoning and result reached by the panel majority," the operator said in a statement to Light Reading. "AT&T's customers nationwide continue to benefit from dramatically superior speeds and performance that its current network provides. As a supporter of the self-regulatory process, however, AT&T will comply with the NARB's decision."
But AT&T said the NARB's recommendation only applies to its advertising and therefore will not affect the one element that really matters: Its service icon.
The move essentially allowed AT&T to leapfrog T-Mobile and Verizon in 5G by remotely upgrading its customer base to something that looked like 5G. The move was designed to prevent AT&T customers with a "5GE" icon on their phone from switching to T-Mobile's 5G or Verizon's 5G because they already had something that looked like 5G.
The action sparked widespread outrage from pundits and AT&T's competitors, which eventually led to the National Advertising Division (NAD) ruling that AT&T should discontinue its "5G Evolution" advertising. AT&T appealed NAD's recommendation, which pushed the issue to the NARB.
Importantly, the NARB's recommendation is essentially too little, too late, at least when it comes to 5G. AT&T is putting the finishing touches on a nationwide buildout of actual 5G technology in its lowband, 850MHz spectrum. That development will allow AT&T to advertise "nationwide 5G" rather than "nationwide 5G Evolution." (It's probably not worth mentioning that lowband 5G isn't much faster than 4G LTE.)
And, because AT&T won't change its icon, its existing 5GE customers still won't need to do anything.