Verizon takes shot at AT&T's 5G Evolution and status bar icon; calls for end to 5G marketing hype

Verizon takes shot at AT&T's 5G Evolution and status bar icon; calls for end to 5G marketing hype
AT&T launched its 5G Evolution network in April 2017. However, this really isn't 5G service. Adding more connections between a cell site and a customer's device (4X4 MIMO) and having more data packed into signals (256QAM) has allowed AT&T to provide LTE-A type speeds to its 5G Evolution customers. A recent Speedtest found Evolution providing a particular AT&T customer with a download speed of 187.44Mbps, and an upload speed of 8.14Mbps. While certainly fast in terms of 4G, it pales in comparison to the numbers that true 5G is expected to deliver.

The 5G Evolution controversy and AT&T's even more controversial decision to put a 5G E icon on the status bar of phones connected to the Evolution network were mocked earlier today by T-Mobile in its typical colorful fashion. But even the more staid Verizon took a swing at its rival today in a blog post by Big Red's CTO Kyle Malady. The executive's piece is titled, "When we say '5G,' we mean 5G."

There is no doubt which carrier Malady is talking about when he says "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." He states that doing this would break Verizon's promise to its customers that each new generation of wireless connectivity "makes new things happen."


Malady says that Verizon is calling on the wireless industry to use a 5G label on devices only when new hardware is connected to a 5G network using new technology to offer new capabilities and functionality to users. And we have to agree. The last thing we want to see is a repeat of the 4G HSPA+ fiasco, which was confusing to many consumers since it allowed non LTE networks and phones to be designated as 4G. And the stakes are higher with 5G. This makes us wonder how many AT&T 5G Evolution subscribers have been bragging to their friends, family and co-workers that they have been using a 5G network.

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