First it was T-Mobile’s turn, then it was Verizon’s, and now it’s Sprint’s chance to make fun of AT&T’s decision to mislead its customers and apply a “5G E” label to phones that aren’t actually connected to a 5G network.
“AT&T is blatantly misleading consumers,” Sprint CTO John Saw said in a statement sent to Engadget. “5GE is not real 5G.” Sprint said it would market “real 5G that is standards-based” in the coming months.
Sprint’s is now the third major carrier on record that has shared criticism for AT&T’s dubious marketing strategy. While it’s no guarantee, it’s a good sign that other carriers won’t try the same misleading antics in the coming months by rebranding their own networks. After all, AT&T isn’t doing anything special to its existing 4G LTE network that others haven’t already done, including adding infrastructure to get a speed boost in certain areas.
Carriers have historically thrived on this kind of misleading marketing, but in this case, it seems to be initially backfiring on AT&T. If anything, this is a telling example that just slapping a pseudo-5G icon on phones via an over-the-air update is not the way you drum up interest about a wireless technology that’s still very much in development.