AT&T Might Finally Ditch '5GE' Marketing Following National Advertising Board Recommendation [Updated]
Following a challenge from T-Mobile, the National Advertising Review Board today announced that it has recommended that AT&T discontinue its "5G Evolution" or "5GE" marketing claims, noting that they may be misleading to consumers.
"5G Evolution" is the branding that AT&T has been using in areas where the latest 4G LTE technologies like three-way carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO, and 256-QAM are available. Since the release of iOS 12.2, AT&T has been displaying a "5GE" label in place of "LTE" on iPhones that connect to its network in areas where those technologies are available.
In a statement shared with MacRumors, AT&T said that it "respectfully disagrees" with the decision, but will comply as a "supporter of the self-regulatory process." AT&T added that it is not currently using "5G Evolution" branding in its advertising, but it did not confirm whether it will stop using the "5GE" label on smartphones.
AT&T respectfully disagrees with the reasoning and result reached by the Panel majority. AT&T's customers nationwide continue to benefit from dramatically superior speeds and performance that its current network provides. As a supporter of the self-regulatory process, however, AT&T will comply with the NARB's decision.
AT&T has since launched its actual 5G network in select cities in the United States. The first 5G-enabled iPhones are expected to launch later this year.
Update 1:29 p.m.: AT&T has told LightReading that it does not plan to remove the 5GE icon from phones because it is not considered advertising and thus falls outside of the NARB's recommendation.
But AT&T said the NARB's recommendation only applies to its advertising and therefore will not affect the one element that really matters: Its service icon.