Verizon (Engadget’s parent company) wrote a serious letter, tut-tutting AT&T for the move without mentioning them by name. “The potential to over-hype and under-deliver on the 5G promise is a temptation that the wireless industry must resist,” it said. “We’re calling on the broad wireless industry to commit to labeling something 5G only if new device hardware is connecting to the network using new radio technology to deliver new capabilities.”
didn’t realize it was this easy, brb updating pic.twitter.com/dCmnd6lspH
— T-Mobile (@TMobile) January 7, 2019
T-Mobile, however, took another tack more fitting its corporate personality by roundly mocking its rival on Twitter. “Didn’t realize it was this easy, brb updating,” it wrote under a video showing someone simply taping a “9G” sticker onto an iPhone.
Both companies are making the same point: It’s highly dishonest to claim that old technology is new. Even though LTE has improved over time thanks to carrier aggregation, 256 QAM, 4×4 MIMO and other buzzwords, the tech is still completely different from mmWave, i.e., 5G. Also, unless you have a brand new smartphone that supports the tech, you won’t benefit from all the MIMO and QAM anyway.
We’ve reached out to Sprint for comment and have yet to hear, but Verizon put it pretty well: “People need a clear, consistent and simple understanding of 5G so they are able to compare services, plans and products, without having to maneuver through marketing double-speak or technical specifications.” Whether all this shame will force AT&T to reverse the move remains to be seen, but if not, perhaps the FCC needs to act.
Verizon owns Engadget’s parent company, Oath (formerly AOL). Rest assured, Verizon has no control over our coverage. Engadget remains editorially independent.