AT&T’s ‘5G E’ icon may continue to appear after advertisement guard dog’s order

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The National Advertising Review Board isn’t delighted about AT&T’s “5G Evolution” classification.


Angela Lang/CNET

A National Advertising Review Board panel on Wednesday required a stop to AT&T’s usage of the “5G Evolution” label. The classification uses to AT&T’s updated 4G LTE network, which the business’s competitors knocked as “fake 5G.” Despite this, you might continue to see  the “5G E” service icon on your phone.

AT&T began utilizing the 5G E classification in 2018, thinking that it acts as a structure for real 5G next-generation cellular innovation. However, 5G E does not imply your 4G phone can in fact link to a 5G network, and Sprint (which has because combined with T-Mobile) took legal action against AT&T over its usage of the “deceptive” 5G E branding in early 2019.

The NARB panel concurred that the terms “5G Evolution” and “The First Step to 5G” were deceptive, which customers might think they’re getting 5G protection.

The provider sees things in a different way.

“AT&T respectfully disagrees with the reasoning and result reached by the Panel majority. AT&T’s customers nationwide continue to benefit from dramatically superior speeds and performance that its current network provides,” business representative Jim Kimberly stated in an emailed declaration.


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“As a supporter of the self-regulatory process, however, AT&T will comply with the NARB’s decision.”

However, the wireless carrier told trade publication Light Reading that the recommendation only applies to its ads and not to its service icon, so “5G E” will keep appearing on your phone.

AT&T didn’t respond to a request for comment.

CNET’s Eli Blumenthal contributed to this report.

See also: Best AT&T phones of 2020: Apple, Samsung and more compared

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