AT&T released a new 5G fact sheet this week, showing its customers what it is actually doing, in terms of 5G. However, it does forget something. And that is its 5G E network. Though we use that term pretty loosely at this point.
The fact sheet that AT&T put out, is actually a really good explainer of what AT&T is doing in terms of 5G. Obviously, this is a bit biased towards AT&T, seeing as it is their fact sheet. And leaves out things that their competitors have done. Of course, that is expected from a fact sheet from a specific company.
AT&T does mention its timeline for different 5G milestones, which includes its first 5G business customer trial in Austin, Texas back in 2016. It also made AT&T Stadium in Dallas, the first 5G stadium in the country. Not to mention, it was first to roll out 5G. Though that was a pretty limited 5G rollout in parts of a couple of markets. But it was first, and that's what AT&T was aiming for.
Also mentioned in this fact sheet are the 5G devices that it will have available. This includes a 5G mobile hotspot from NETGEAR which is now available, along with two separate Samsung smartphones – one coming in the first half of 2019, and the other coming in the second half. Given the time frame for these, it is likely that these will be 5G-compatible Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 devices.
Loads of information included in this fact sheet, but nowhere does AT&T mention its 5G Evolution or 5G E network. Could that be because it's not a real 5G network? Who knows. But given all the money AT&T had spent on actually marketing that 5G E network in ads, and even pushing out updates to update the 4G LTE icon to a 5G E icon on its smartphones, it's a bit odd that AT&T is not mentioning it at all now.
It does look like AT&T is trying to drop all mentions of that 5G E icon and network now. Could that be because of Sprint's lawsuit regarding 5G E? Possibly, but we will likely never know. 5G E was basically a way for AT&T to confuse its customers, telling them that their 4G LTE smartphone now supports 5G E, which was not true, at all. Considering 5G E was essentially 4G LTE. nothing more and nothing less.
It's pretty curious that AT&T is dropping the 5G E mentions from this fact sheet, though that could also be because it is not 5G, and this fact sheet is all about 5G. If AT&T does decide to roll back those updates that pushed 5G E icons onto their smartphones, and bring it back to 4G LTE, then that would be a pretty big deal. Not to mention, a whole lot more confusing for customers. Seeing their smartphone go from 4G LTE to 5G E and back to 4G LTE, it's definitely going to make customers question AT&T what was going on there.