AT&T has a record for being pretty shifty when it comes to its rollout of new network technologies. Back before 4G LTE was mainstream, the company rolled out its HSPA+ network which was faster than 3G but not technically 4G. Regardless, it convinced many device manufacturers to include the 4G logo as an HSPA+ indicator in phones’ status bars, including the iPhone 4S. Now, the carrier is doing something similar with its rollout of “5G Evolution.”
According to Fierce Wireless, AT&T has confirmed devices which utilize the carrier’s LTE Advanced technologies in certain markets will see their LTE icons change from “LTE” to “5G E.” The only problem is LTE Advanced is by no means 5G whatsoever. It’s faster than standard 4G LTE, but it isn’t using the same technologies or offering the same speed as regular 5G. For whatever reason AT&T just calls LTE ADvanced “5G Evolution” which is extremely deceptive.
This is stupid. The race between carriers to roll out 5G is already heated, but the fact AT&T wants to try and lie its way to the finish line is ridiculous. Over 400 markets will get access to AT&T’s 5G Evolution, so you can probably expect to see the untrue 5G E logo in your device’s status bar later next year. Supported devices include many high-end Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S9 and LG V35.
Notably, real 5G isn’t expected to fully go mainstream until around 2020 so we’ll have to get through a full year of AT&T lying to customers. Just keep this information in mind if you see “5G E” or “5G Evolution” anywhere in the near future.