February 8, 2019
Sprint is suing AT&T and claiming that the labeling of its 4G-Advanced services as "5G E" on many 4G smartphones is "deceptive."
Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) filed a complaint against AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) Thursday evening with the New York State Southern District court accusing AT&T of "deceptive advertising" over the "5G Evolution" service.
"AT&T has employed numerous deceptive tactics to mislead consumers into believing that it currently offers a coveted and highly anticipated fifth-generation wireless network, known as 5G," Sprint said in the complaint. "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."
The crux of the issue, Sprint notes, is that AT&T used a "software update to change the screens of mobile phones and tablets operating on the AT&T 4G LTE Advanced network to indicate falsely that these devices are connected to a 5G network." AT&T offers a number of modern Apple and Samsung smartphones that display the "5G E" branding on screen when using LTE-A connections. AT&T's CEO responded on CNBC's Squawk Box show Friday that the AT&T offering is evolutionary but not deceptive. "We're being very clear with our customers that this is an evolutionary step." Randall Stephenson said. (AT&T executives have also previously defended the marketing, see AT&T's Donovan Defends the Carrier's 5G Fibs.) Rival carriers have also widely panned AT&T's move. (See Verizon, AT&T Spar Over 5G Service Names, Marketing.) The kerfuffle over the "5G E" branding initially started in the press back in January. AT&T, however, started updating a planned 400 4G markets as with LTE Advanced upgrades, such as updated antenna arrays back in April 2018. (See AT&T Rolls Out Faux 5G in 100+ US Markets.) Sprint is seeking to block AT&T from using "5G E" or other related terms with this complaint. — Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading
About the Author(s)
You May Also Like
SCTE® LiveLearning for Professionals Webinar™ Series: Going to 10G & BeyondJul 26, 2023
Cable Next-Gen Business Services Digital Symposium 2023Jul 26, 2023
Open RAN Evolution Digital Symposium Day 2Jul 26, 2023
SCTE® LiveLearning for Professionals Webinar™ Series: Priming the Pump for Next-Gen PONJul 26, 2023