AT&T offers not quite 5G with 5G E
The indicator “5G E” will start showing on some phones belonging to AT&T customers soon. The deliberate usage of “5G” in the label is likely to lead some users into believing their handset is accessing the next-generation network, but this is not the actual case. The full name for the AT&T service is “5G Evolution,” but phones connected to this will still be using 4G LTE networks. The company’s blog describes what customers can expect from 5G E:
5G Evolution technologies enables [sic] a peak theoretical wireless speed of 400Mbps for capable devices, or an average around 40Mbps based on real-world experiences.
The 5G E service is potentially fast, but it is still not actual 5G. What could be seen as even further evidence of AT&T’s deliberate ambiguous marketing is that the “E” in the indicator is considerably smaller than the “5G” part, so a quick glance may mislead a user into thinking their phone has connected to a non-existent 5G network.
It has been pointed out that AT&T has carried out this kind of disingenuous marketing practice before. The company utilized the “4G” indicator when customers were using the HSPA+ standard, which was still part of the 3G network.