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AT&T will soon put a misleading ‘5G E’ logo on 4G Android devices

Published Dec 21st, 2018 4:41PM EST

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For anyone who thinks the smartphone market is saturated with devices that are virtually indistinguishable from each other, there’s good news on the horizon. 5G is on the way and will eventually offer up mind-blowing data speeds that will make you wonder how you ever lived without it. A number of carriers are rolling out 5G networks but you’ll have to wait a while until 5G-equipped smartphones are available for purchase. Further, there’s a good chance you’ll have to wait until 5G coverage is expansive enough as to make spending extra cash on a 5G smartphone worth it.

In the interim, a report from FierceWireless relays that AT&T will be replacing the LTE indicator on its smartphones with a 5G E symbol in markets that support the latest and fastest LTE technologies. The ‘E’ stands for Evolution and is available in 99 markets across the country and will expand to include 400 markets before 2019. AT&T notes that 5G E enables “peak theoretical wireless speeds for capable devices of at least 400 megabits per second.”

Is this a tad misleading? Of course, but carriers certainly aren’t strangers to fudging the truth on matters like this.

In response to a question about the move from FierceWireless, an AT&T spokesperson said the following:

If they have one of the latest Android devices and it connects to a tower that’s enabled with 5G Evolution, they’ll soon see a “5G E” indicator pop up on their screen. Initially we’ll roll this out on a handful of devices, with more devices showing the indicator in spring 2019.

While the boost from 5G E appears substantial, it still seems disingenuous for AT&T to pull this kind of stunt.

Incidentally, AT&T launched its 5G mobile network this week, though it’s currently limited to the following cities:  Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Raleigh, San Antonio and Waco, Texas. During the first half of 2019, 5G support will expand to these additional 7 cities: Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.