News & Politics

AT&T to Begin Tricking Customers into Thinking They Have 5G Service

We’re beginning to hear more about 5G, the next wireless standard from our cellular providers, but beware of the deception: 5G will be great, but it’s not here yet.

5G will have the ability to speed up our data connections, making them twenty times faster. A video that now takes five minutes to download will take just 15 seconds with 5G. While 4G service is currently able to reach speeds of 1GB per second, 5G can transmit data at speeds of 20GB per second! But, in spite of what you read, 5G won’t be with us for another year or two. In fact, Apple has said they won’t introduce iPhones with 5G capability before 2020.

In a recent conference in Hawaii, Qualcomm, the leader in 5G chips, and its partners tried demonstrating 5G to a group of reporters in a controlled environment. But it didn’t go well. The Verge described the first “real world” 5G test as a dud.

5G not only requires new chips, but also new phones and entirely new technology in all of the cell towers. Yet that’s not stopping the cellular companies from hyping 5G in a misleading way, with AT&T being one of the most deceptive of all. Its customers will begin seeing a 5G logo appear on their phone’s display beginning next year, even though they are not 5G phones and are not using 5G networks. According to FierceWirelsss, an industry news website,  “AT&T is going to start pretending its most advanced 4G LTE tech is 5G.”

AT&T will soon begin changing the “LTE” indicator on some of its current Android phones to “5G E” in markets where the company now offers 4G technologies. The “E” will be smaller than the rest of the logo and refers to 5G Evolution, which is actually 4G.

And according to The Verge, “If this sounds sadly familiar, it’s because AT&T pulled this exact same stunt during the transition to LTE. The company rolled out a speed-boosting 3G tech called HSPA+, then got all of its phone partners — even Apple! — to show a ‘4G’ logo when on that kind of connection.”

AT&T is intentionally deceiving its customers into thinking they are providing this faster service and that their networks are more advanced than their competitors’ networks. Users will think they have 5G, when in fact it’s 4G.

In a blog post, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray wrote that AT&T was “duping customers into thinking they’re getting something they’re not.” The ‘E’ is easy to miss, too, judging by a mockup AT&T sent out.”

AT&T has defended its use of “5G Evolution” branding for LTE service because it has theoretical speeds up to 1 Gbps.

FierceWireless believes that “potentially millions” will spot the new 5G logo, and that’s likely to create a huge amount of confusion about what 5G really is and who has it. But that’s exactly what AT&T wants to do.

You have to wonder why companies can’t just be truthful with their customers and stop deceiving them. But perhaps with AT&T, deception is just part of their DNA.