Carriers settle court case in which Sprint accused AT&T of falsely advertising enhanced 4G service capabilities
AT&T customers will not likely see “5Ge” on their smartphones going forward following the settlement of a lawsuit with rival Sprint. The two carriers went to court after Sprint accused AT&T of falsely advertising its enhanced 4G services as “5G Evolution,” causing confusion in the market.
The Lowdown: Carriers are racing to develop 5G wireless commercial and consumer networks to usher in the next generation of mobile connectivity for telecommunications and Internet connectivity. As an interim step, AT&T released 5G Evolution, which is actually an enhanced version of 4G LTE that promises mobile connection speed increases up to two times that of conventional 4G in select markets. Rival carriers, including Verizon and T-Mobile, cried foul when AT&T pushed “5Ge” indicators to smartphone users, saying that it was deceiving customers into thinking they had 5G connections. Sprint was the only carrier to sue.
The Details: Details of the lawsuit settlement are unclear, with the two sides saying only that the issue was resolved. In similar situations, the defendant simply agrees to stop the offending marketing practice.
The Impact: The AT&T-Sprint lawsuit is likely a harbinger of what’s to come in the 5G build-out. In the United States and around the world, 5G networking equipment companies and carriers are betting big on the next-generation protocol that promises higher speeds and lower latency connections. Despite its limitations, 5G networking technology promises to usher in a new wave of innovation in connected systems, such as Internet of Things. Carriers will compete strongly for consumer and commercial customers.
Background: While AT&T’s use of 5Ge was aimed at consumers, it’s part of a trend that solution providers say is costing them business. Marketing by carriers — particularly AT&T and Verizon — of the coming of 5G technologies and early adoption opportunities is causing businesses to delay the upgrade of legacy 3G systems and the expansion of 4G capacity, solution providers say. Many wireless networking solution providers do not believe 5G networks will be viable for several years, making 4G technology and products more reasonable today.