AT&T and Sprint have settled a false-advertising lawsuit over AT&T’s usage of “5GE” branding that incorrectly labels 4G networks as 5G. Sadly, the branding stands.
“The parties have amicably resolved this matter,” an AT&T statement notes tersely.
Spring sued AT&T in February, correctly alleging that using a “5GE” logo on mobile phones connected to certain 4G networks constituted false advertising. AT&T’s use of “5GE”—which means “5G Evolution”—is controversial because these networks do not, in fact, represent an interim step between 4G and 5G networks. 5GE networks are instead just a rebranding of existing 4G networks.
Like other wireless carriers, Sprint has been mocking AT&T’s 5GE marketing for months. But it also had the temerity to actually sue the firm, noting that “the significance of AT&T’s deception cannot be overstated.” “Calling its network ‘5GE’ (or ‘5G E’ or ‘5G Evolution’) does not make it a 5G network and instead deceives customers into believing it is something that it is not, ” Sprint argued.
AT&T, for its part, has said that its customers “love” the 5GE branding. If true, they’re misinformed for the reason cited above. Contrary to AT&T’s claims, 5GE networks are not “an evolutionary step to standards-based 5G.” Unless, of course, you consider 4G “an evolutionary step to standards-based 5G.”
We may never know the full terms of the settlement, but we do know the only pertinent bit for consumers: AT&T’s terrible and false 5GE branding will remain in place.