AT&T drops use of '5G Evolution' marketing phrase for non-5G networks

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AT&T

Other carriers, consumer watchdogs, and obsessive technology journalists have been pointing out how misleading it can be, and now the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) agrees.

AT&T claims it will certainly quit marketing its cordless network as "5G Evolution" after a department of the Better Business Bureau identified that its language was misleading. "The current prevalent technology in wireless service is 4G LTE, and LTE stands for "evolution.' Thus, consumers may well interpret 'Evolution" in the challenged claims as signifying that AT&T's technology has already evolved into 5G".

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A spokesperson for AT&T told FOX Business the company "respectfully disagrees with the reasoning and result reached by the panel majority" but as a "supporter of the self-regulatory process", the company will comply with the review board's decision.

While AT&T and also various other cordless service providers in the United States. have actually now started rolling real 5G cordless networks, AT&T in December 2018 started discussing a "5G Evolution" solution that was now offered in numerous markets, and also positioned a "5G E" symbol on phones when they linked to the network. Its reasoning is that the recommendation only applies to advertising, and therefore the service icon doesn't have to be changed.

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However, critics have argued that the term is misleading and could make consumers believe their phone is capable of connecting to 5G networks even though it's still using 4G connections.

Print, in-store and television ads take longer, but compliance is expected within a month or so. If a good faith effort hasn't been made, then they would be referred to the appropriate regulatory authority.

The NARB panel said it has determined that the "5G Evolution" claims could mislead reasonable customers into believing that they're using a 5G network.

AT&T's marketing ploy looks even sillier when you factor in that the company has a real 5G network it's now trying to market to consumers as a faster and more reliable alternative to Verizon's.

In a statement to MacRumors, AT&T noted that it's not now using the "5G Evolution" branding in any of its advertising anyway, but did not confirm or deny whether it will stop using the "5G E" icon on the iPhone and other smartphones. although it certainly seems that this latest decision may be enough for Apple to insist that AT&T agree to remove the misleading label from the iPhone as well.

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