Sprint has filed a lawsuit against one of its competitors, AT&T. The lawsuit is over its misleading 5GE network. Sprint has filed a lawsuit in federal court, seeking an injunction preventing AT&T from using the 5GE icon on its smartphones.
Sprint commissioned a survey, which found that 54-percent of respondents believe that 5GE networks are better or the same as 5G networks. While 43-percent of them believe that if they walk into an AT&T store and buy a phone, it'll be 5G capable. Unfortunately, those are both false. Which means that AT&T is misleading customers.
AT&T has responded to the lawsuit from Sprint, stating that they "understand why our competitors don't like what we are doing, but our customers love it." Stating that it introduced 5G Evolution or 5GE more than two years ago. AT&T is planning to fight this lawsuit, while it continues to deploy 5GE, as well as its regular mobile 5G network. AT&T also took a stab at Sprint, stating that it "will have to reconcile its arguments to the FCC that it cannot deploy a widespread 5G network without T-Mobile while simultaneously claiming in this suit to be launching 'legitimate 5G technology imminently.'"
It's a bit surprising that Sprint is suing AT&T over this 5GE icon, but it is needed. AT&T is essentially taking its 4G LTE network and slapping a 5GE icon on it, saying that is has been "upgraded" when we all know that is not true. In fact, a few YouTubers have done videos comparing 5GE to 4G LTE on AT&T's network and while there were some faster speeds on 5GE, that is likely due to newer technology being supported, like massive MIMO in a newer phone.
Carriers are excited for 5G to start rolling out, and have been hyping it up for a few years already. But to be updating 4G LTE smartphones with a 5GE icon, is not a great thing. All three carriers have denounced AT&T's decision, saying that it gives 5G a bad reputation and will mislead customers. But this isn't the first time that AT&T has done this.
Going back about a decade ago, when carriers were starting to move over to 4G networks. AT&T and T-Mobile were upgrading their 3G smartphones to show 4G. However, things were a bit different. As the carriers were using 3G evolution networks, which is HSPA+. AT&T here has not done anything to their 4G LTE network to "evolve" it for 5GE, which is where the difference lies. But this is why we refer to 4G as "4G LTE" and not simply 4G.
That is in addition to Sprint using WiMax for 4G instead of LTE, and ultimately scraping it once the industry decided on LTE instead of WiMax, which was much slower.
It's unclear what is going to happen with this case, but a win for consumers would be forcing AT&T to remove the 5GE icon. What is going to happen when actual 5G starts rolling out, and its 10x (or more) faster than the "5GE" network that users have been using for the past year or more? It's an issue, and props to Sprint for taking action.