For the longest time, there is a perception that AT&T hates their consumer base. They do, and this is how it continues: AT&T devices will start seeing a “5G” logo appear on the corners of their smartphone next year. No, it isn’t because they are using the 5G network. It is simply because AT&T is attempting to pretend they have the most advanced network.
According to FierceWireless, AT&T will display an icon reading “5G E” on newer phones that are connected to LTE. It will appear in markets where the carrier has deployed a handful of speed boosting — but still definitively 4G — technologies. The “E,” displayed smaller than the rest of the logo, refers to “5G Evolution,” the carrier’s term for networks that aren’t quite 5G but are still faster than traditional LTE.
For longtime AT&T consumes, this may seem a bit familiar. AT&T did the exact same thing when they started the transition to LTE back in the day. They rolled out a 3G booster called HSPA+, which was a slightly faster version of 3G. However, they managed to get all their phone partners, including Apple, to display a “4G” logo.
“If they have one of the latest Android devices and it connects to a tower that’s enabled with 5G Evolution, they’ll soon see a “5G E” indicator pop up on their screen,” an AT&T spokesperson wrote in response to questions from FierceWireless. “Initially we’ll roll this out on a handful of devices, with more devices showing the indicator in spring 2019.”
FierceWireless guesses that “potentially millions” of people could see the new logo. AT&T’s 5G Evolution network available in over 400 markets by the end of 2018. Given that real 5G will be rare and limited for the next year or more, this tiny little branding change could lead to a great deal of misunderstanding around the state of the next-generation wireless technology.
So, in other words, if you see the “5G” logo appear on your device, don’t be fooled. It is for the look and you are not randomly using 5G LTE technology. There will be a price bump for that.