Sprint Sues AT&T Over 5G Branding

12 February, 2019, 08:13 | Author: Patty Hardy
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The lawsuit, first reported by Engadget, focuses on the idea that consumers will purchase AT&T phones because they incorrectly believe they will provide 5G service.

"AT&T is deliberately deceiving consumers into believing that their existing 4G LTE network operates on a coveted and highly anticipated 5G network", a Sprint spokeswoman told Barron's. "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".

Sprint, however, didn't take such a light-hearted approach, instead filing a lawsuit accusing AT&T of "damaging the reputation of 5G while [Sprint] works to build out a legitimate early entry into the 5G network space". AT&T has simply added some technology that can potentially deliver speeds slightly faster than LTE.

"I fully understand why our competitors might be upset with this", Stephenson said.

The lawsuit came after Apple's popular iPhone on AT&T's network started showing the "5GE" label this week, even though Apple doesn't make a 5G compatible phone and isn't even expected to be offering one until 2020. That's thanks in large part to AT&T's bogus "5G E" marketing. Sprint has filed a lawsuit in federal court, seeking an injunction preventing AT&T from using the 5GE icon on its smartphones. "When we go into a market and we turn up this technology and we light up this spectrum, our customers are seeing radical increases in speed and performance on the network, and this is a step that's required to get to ultimate 5G, and it's an evolutionary step to 5G-it's a critical step".

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AT&T's website says 5GE, which stands for 5G Evolution, "is our first step on the road to 5G".

"Sprint will have to reconcile its arguments to the FCC that it can not deploy a widespread 5G network without T-Mobile while simultaneously claiming in this suit to be launching 'legitimate 5G technology imminently, '" AT&T said. Since 2017, it has been building the "5G E" brand name for its LTE-Advanced network.

Sprint may be confident in its complaint, but AT&T has fired back by saying, "We will fight this lawsuit while continuing to deploy 5G Evolution in addition to standards-based mobile 5G".

It appears that for now, AT&T is doubling down on the concept that consumers aren't confused by "5G E" and don't believe it's the same as 5G-NR, the technology that most of the industry calls "5G".

Through the suit, Sprint aims to stop AT&T from using designations and terms related to 5G such as 5GE, 5G-E, or 5G Evolution. 5GE is not 5G, it's not better, and no current AT&T phone will ever connect to a real 5G network. A Sprint spokeswoman provided a statement about the dispute with AT&T. The poster is using a Samsung Galaxy S9, which does not have actual 5G support, but does display the "5G E" icon. But AT&T could well argue that "5G" doesn't actually mean anything, or that it means what carriers say it means. Previously, another United States operator, T-Mobile also humiliated the official AT&T.

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