Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
Electronics | By Shannon Stone

Verizon’s 5G promise: It won’t falsely claim 4G phones are really 5G

Verizon’s 5G promise: It won’t falsely claim 4G phones are really 5G

AT&T's "5G E" service-which is not actually connected to a new 5G network-was launched in December.

AT&T recently updated its phones to replace "LTE" with "5G E".

In the spirit of maintaining customer trust, Verizon called on the entire wireless industry to label something 5G "only if new device hardware is connecting to the network using new radio technology to deliver new capabilities" [Verizon's emphasis].

Despite chastising AT&T, Verizon has also adopted the 5G label for technology that doesn't meet the industry 5G standard. The "E" is meant to stand for "Evolution" and will be displayed in areas where AT&T's service conforms to certain advanced characteristics of 4G LTE service. 5G Evolution technologies enable a peak theoretical wireless speed of at least 400Mbps for capable devices. Although there are now industry standards specifying exactly what 5G networks must meet, dubbed "5G NR", there are still some grey areas, particularly when it comes to marketing. The so-called "5G E" icon stands for "5G evolution", but the carrier's network is still based on 4G. Verizon is anxious that some will "over-hype and under-deliver" as temptation slides in for the awesomeness that is the future of 5G.

"If I now occupy beachfront real estate in our competitors' heads, that makes me smile", AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan said at CES. The 5G network initially went live in parts of 12 cities, and is expected to launch in another seven cities in the first half of 2019.

AT&T, which made investment for the deployment of LTE-M in 2017, connects more IoT devices than any other provider in North America. In fact, AT&T's rivals have even better LTE Advanced coverage than AT&T.

AT&T said that, by the end of this year, it expects its network capacity to increase by 50% since 2017. That little space caused a big stir after AT&T chose to add a new symbol, called 5Ge. AT&T hasn't really upgraded it's network a whole lot in the past few years, so if anything it is likely slower compared to Verizon and T-Mobile's network. When he first started in Bellevue, he would mock Sprint quite a bit, but now he has moved onto AT&T and Verizon.

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