Updating a phone to show that it is running on a 5G E network, when it is running on the same 4G LTE network it was on yesterday, is false advertising.
Some Android phones already claim they're connected to a 5G network.
"If network providers, equipment manufacturers, handset makers, app developers and others in the wireless ecosystem engage in behavior created to purposefully confuse consumers, public officials and the investment community about what 5G really is, we risk alienating the very people we want most to join in developing and harnessing this exciting new technology", wrote Malady.
"What we're trying to do is let them know that there is an enhanced experience in their market", Elbaz reiterated when asked whether the 5G E term was misleading. It launched 5G back in October, in its quest to be "first".
A new generation of wireless network comes along every several years, so the stakes are high for carriers to establish their dominance.
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IDC analyst Jason Leigh said labeling 5G is a "battle between marketers and engineers", as they try to balance hype and reality.
The largest US wireless carrier was expected to add 355,600 new subscribers, according to research firm FactSet. In fact, AT&T doesn't now sell any smartphones capable of connecting to its emerging 5G network, only a mobile hotspot. Despite a bumpy, much-delayed windup to the network's March launch, the network has rapidly added subscribers - 3,600 public safety agencies were members as of October, up 150% from July. Instead, AT&T made a decision to rebrand years-old LTE Advanced technology as "5G Evolution." Ugh.
"It's not really 5G, and it's very confusing to people", he said.
In this blog post, Verizon is calling on the wireless industry to only label something 5G "if new device hardware is connecting to the network using new radio technology to deliver new capabilities".
Ars Technica points out that Verizon also somewhat jumped the gun on 5G by using it in one of its services that doesn't meet the standard of the industry.