Fresh research by OpenSignal found speeds offered by AT&T’s 5G Evolution (5G E) service are comparable to, and in some cases slower than, LTE-A services offered by US rivals.
AT&T launched its 5G E branding in 2017 in what it said was an attempt to distinguish its LTE-A service, which uses technologies including 256QAM, 4×4 MIMO and carrier aggregation, from standard 4G.
However, tier-1 rivals accused the company of misleading consumers, and Sprint filed a lawsuit aiming to ban the moniker on the grounds it represents “false advertising”.
OpenSignal CEO Brendan Gill told Mobile World Live (MWL) its analysis shows customers on the AT&T 5G E service receive up to a 60 per cent boost in speeds on phones that are capable of 5G E over customers without it. However he noted “the same is true for Verizon and T-Mobile customers on the equivalent type of network” (see chart, above, click to expand). In fact, Verizon and T-Mobile US’ LTE-Advanced speeds topped those offered by AT&T’s 5G E service, while Sprint brought up the rear.
Gill concluded “it’s not unreasonable” to label a network service differently if it offers a meaningful boost over another, but “just not with a name that confuses customers.”
OpenSignal’s network tests did not differentiate between instances when the 5G E icon was shown on a device and when it was not because “just as 5G E is only available some of the time, so is the equivalent LTE-Advanced Pro technologies on the other three networks”, it explained in a blog post.
In a statement to MWL, AT&T argued this methodology was “flawed”, adding the results do “not accurately represent the 5G Evolution user experience”.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back