Sprint sues AT&T over ‘5G E’ marketing, calling it deceptive and misleading

Sprint sues AT&T over ‘5G E’ marketing, calling it deceptive and misleading

Sprint sues AT&T over ‘5G E’ marketing, calling it deceptive and misleading

AT&T did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

5G can offer data speeds up to 50 or 100 times faster than 4G networks.

Sprint is requesting that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NY block AT&T from continuing to use the label "5G E" or any related variant of the label.

AT&T is lying to customers.

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Sprint's complaint notes that all four major USA wireless carriers offer the same LTE-Advanced features as AT&T's "5G E" network and that "currently, there are no 5G-enabled mobile phones or tablets available for sale or lease to consumers". As of this moment in February 2019, there are no 5G-capable phones available for purchase as carriers are just starting to get their 5G networks off the ground. This decision to brand 4G LTE Advanced connections as 5G E is one that's drawn a lot of ire from consumers and competitors alike, but AT&T pushed forward, releasing advertisements touting 5G Evolution and updating phones on its network to carry the questionable branding.

AT&T renamed a large portion of its 4G network, calling it "5G E", for "5G Evolution".

AT&T's product is "nothing more than" advanced LTE, or an advanced version of what the industry calls 4G Long Term Evolution technology, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of NY. "It also means we're the only company in the USA that can test the latest updates in real time on a standards based 5G commercial mobile network". "It harms consumers by holding out AT&T's services as more technologically advanced than Sprint's and enticing consumers to switch wireless service providers (or remain AT&T subscribers) under false pretenses".

In the lawsuit, which tech news website Engadget obtained and posted online, Sprint asked for a jury trial and said AT&T is breaking federal and state laws on false advertising and deception.

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The suit, filed by Sprint late Thursday night, accuses AT&T of marketing that "deceives consumers" into thinking AT&T already offers a next-generation, 5G wireless network when, in fact, customers are still using an upgraded version of 4G LTE. "We've brought the "5G E" indicator to some of our most popular and capable smartphones simply to help customers know when they are in an area where the enhanced wireless experience may be available", the statement said.

"We introduced 5G Evolution more than two years ago, clearly defining it as an evolutionary step to standards-based 5G", AT&T said. The carrier is now in the process of trying to merge with rival T-Mobile.

A January report by The Wall Street Journal had noted complaints by Verizon and T-Mobile about AT&T's 5G E claims, though it failed to mention any objections by Sprint specifically. "Customers want and deserve to know when they are getting better speeds", AT&T said in response to the lawsuit.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson defended the "5G E" branding in a TV interview Friday. T-Mobile and Verizon have both pushed back against this in their own way.

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Sprint said that a survey showed 54 percent of AT&T's consumers believed their "5G E" network is the same as or better than a 5G network and 43 percent said if they buy an AT&T phone today, it would be capable of running on 5G.

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