Yesterday AT&T rolled out a software update to its Android phones that changed the 4G logo to a 5G logo, claiming its current service is now “5G.” However, those phones on AT&T’s network weren’t actually suddenly 5G-enabled and running on the next-generation network. The move was just an incredibly shady and misleading branding tactic, as ArsTechnica pointed out. And the internet was having none of it. On Twitter, the hashtag #fake5G quickly spread.
But some of AT&T’s rivals also jumped on the shaming wagon. Our favorite was T-Mobile’s snarky reply on Twitter:
didn’t realize it was this easy, brb updating pic.twitter.com/dCmnd6lspH
— T-Mobile (@TMobile) January 7, 2019
But another rival thought a more serious reply was needed. Without mentioning AT&T by name, Verizon’s chief technology officer Kyle Malady penned a blog post on the company’s site titled, “When we say ‘5G,’ we mean 5G.” In it, Malady wrote:
Verizon is making this commitment today: We won’t take an old phone and just change the software to turn the 4 in the status bar into a 5. We will not call our 4G network a 5G network if customers don’t experience a performance or capability upgrade that only 5G can deliver.
Doing so would break an enduring and simple promise we’ve made to our customers: That each new wireless generation makes new things possible…
We lead by example. And we challenge our competitors, vendors and partners to join us. People need a clear, consistent and simple understanding of 5G so they are able to compare services, plans and products, without having to maneuver through marketing double-speak or technical specifications.
Our industry knows 5G will change the world. Let’s uphold that promise, while maintaining our integrity. The success of the 5G technological revolution must be measured in truth and fact, not marketing hype.
Here’s hoping AT&T will revert all those 5G logos to 4G so its end-users aren’t duped into thinking they have something they don’t.