AT&T officially welcomed what it calls “5G Evolution”, which is showcased with a “5G E” label on some smartphones, not too long ago. And it immediately led many to call out nonsense.
The big blue wireless network describes 5G E as “our first step on the road to 5G. We’re starting by enabling faster speeds on our existing LTE network—up to 2x faster than standard LTE”. Basically, while this is called an evolution of 5G, it isn’t that at all. AT&T bills this as a “step towards 5G”, and does not mind at all that the marketing is 100% misleading. But does AT&T’s 5G E live up to its billed abilities?
There’s some good news and some unsurprising news.
According to a new study from Opensignal, AT&T’s 5G E-equipped smartphones do perform better than handsets on the network that can’t connect to 5G E:
“Analyzing Opensignal’s data shows that AT&T users with 5G E-capable smartphones receive a better experience than AT&T users with less capable smartphone models, for example those with an LTE Category below 16. But AT&T users with a 5G E-capable smartphone receive similar speeds to users on other carriers with the same smartphone models that AT&T calls 5G E. The 5G E speeds which AT&T users experience are very much typical 4G speeds and not the step-change improvement which 5G promises.”
Basically, Opensignal’s report shows us what we already know: 5G E isn’t anything to write home about, and AT&T’s simply using it as a way to put 5G out there into the real world ahead of all the other major wireless carriers. It’s a marketing gimmick. This is not the first time a company has done this, and it certainly won’t be the last.
This is all even more frustrating when you include the fact that AT&T technically has 5G rolling out now on its mobile network. Smartphones don’t support it just yet, however. Only a mobile hotspot has that ability for now.
Misleading marketing is never fun, and AT&T should know better. But of course its executives do, and they don’t mind the fact that people are talking about 5G E in a negative light. One would imagine this Opensignal report wouldn’t do anything to faze them, either. They got out there first with 5G and, to them, that’s all that matters.
We Want to Hear From You
What do you think of AT&T’s tactics here? Do you think it will matter that they can (falsely) say first to getting a 5G label out there?