[Update: Settled] Sprint is suing AT&T for misleading consumers with “5G E” branding
The 5G Wars are already heating before anyone really has the ability to use it. That’s thanks in large part to AT&T’s bogus “5G E” marketing. We previously wrote about AT&T Samsung phones getting a “5G E” icon with the Android Pie update. AT&T has also been using the “5G E” term in recent advertisements. T-Mobile and Verizon have both pushed back against this in their own way. Now Sprint is taking things to the next level.
Sprint has filed a lawsuit in federal court against AT&T, claiming their “5G E” branding is misleading consumers. According to a survey commissioned by Sprint, 54% of consumers believe “5G E” networks are the same as or better than 5G and 43% believe buying an AT&T phone today will be 5G capable. Sprint argues that AT&T practice is damaging the reputation of 5G while they work to build a “legitimate early entry into the 5G network space.”
For those who don’t know, “5G E” stands for “5G Evolution,” but it’s still 4G LTE. AT&T has simply added some technology that can potentially deliver speeds slightly faster than LTE. It is not related to legitimate 5G in any way. It’s not hard to see how this can confuse consumers. I have personally already encountered AT&T customers who believe their Samsung phone now has 5G. That doesn’t mean Sprint will have an easy case. We’ll be watching this closely as it develops.