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AT&T sued by Sprint, must defend decision to tell users that 4G is “5G E”

Enlarge / Screenshot from an AT&T commercial. (credit: AT&T)

Sprint is suing AT&T, alleging that AT&T’s misleading “5G E” advertising campaign violates laws prohibiting false advertising and deceptive acts and practices.

AT&T renamed a large portion of its 4G network, calling it “5G E,” for “5G Evolution.” But as we’ve written, what AT&T calls 5G E consists of technologies that are part of the years-old 4G LTE-Advanced standard and are already used by Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint on their 4G networks. Despite that, AT&T has been advertising this supposed upgrade to 5G E and even changing network indicators on smartphones from 4G to 5G E.

“By making the false claim that it is offering a 5G wireless network where it offers only a 4G LTE Advanced network, AT&T is attempting to secure an unfair advantage in the saturated wireless market,” Sprint wrote in a complaint filed yesterday in US District Court for the Southern District of New York. “AT&T’s false and misleading statements deceive consumers into believing that AT&T now operates a 5G wireless network and, through this deception, AT&T seeks to induce consumers to purchase or renew AT&T’s services when they might otherwise have purchased Sprint’s services.”

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