AT&T is on the front lines of the 5G revolution. In fact, the carrier is the leading the way so far, as its the first in the U.S. to offer mobile 5G service. Its available now in 12 cities via a hotspot with even more cities on the way.
AT&T also just announced that it is teaming up with a Chicago medical center to speed up network communications and reduce latency, as well as a partnership that will turn AT&T Stadium in Dallas into a 5G playground.
But AT&T also finds itself in hot water for trying to pass off enhanced 4G service as 5G. Certain phones will now display a 5GE icon in areas where AT&T offers peak theoretical speeds of at least 400 megabits per second. Its 5G Evolution service is now in 400 markets.
Other carriers are crying foul, with Verizons CTO saying in a blog post that this behavior is designed to purposely confuse consumers. Sprint and T-Mobile have also criticized AT&T.
In Defense of "5GE"
AT&Ts Igal Elbaz, senior vice president for wireless technology AT&T, defended the carriers strategy in an interview with Toms Guide.
Weve been talking about 5G Evolution for a while now. We were pretty public about what we were doing and what we were deploying, said Elbaz.
What were trying to do is two things. One is to let the customer know that they are in an enhanced experience market or area. So were letting them know this on the device. And there are close to 20 devices that support this.
"All of our investment in the infrastucture and hardware is all 5G ready, so the moment the 5G software and the 5G devices show up, it`s a software upgrade to our network to enable our customers to move to 5G," said Elbaz.
That`s true, but those with 5GE devices will still need to upgrade to a new handset.
When asked whether using the term 5GE is misleading given that it is not based on 5G technology, Elbaz said our customers will love [5GE]. What were trying to do is let them know that there is an enhanced experience in their market.
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