5G is going to be the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications. We have seen a lot of hype building around the rollout of 5G, which is due next year, over the month. It all started with Qualcomm showcasing how technology will take shape in 2019. In its annual Snapdragon Tech Summit, Qualcomm showed a prototype of a phone that can access 5G networks. Soon, we saw AT&T launching its 5G network in 12 cities. Due to the lack of 5G devices, it works via a Netgear hotspot. Today, AT&T revealed that it’ll be displaying “5G E” on certain 4G devices.
5G E – The Fake 5G
As FierceWireless reports, AT&T “will soon begin changing the “LTE” indicator on some of its current Android phones to “5G E” in markets where the company now offers 4×4 MIMO, 256 QAM and other advanced LTE network technologies”. In simpler terms, if you have one of the latest Android devices, you’ll get the 5G E logo if they are connected to a tower that supports it. AT&T further adds that the feature will be out on select devices with more devices coming in spring 2019.
The 5G E, or 5G Evolution service will be available in 400 markets by year end. There is no information on the number of devices which will be affected, but this raises some questions. The network still works on 4G technologies so the “5G E” symbol is pretty misleading. While AT&T says, “5GE” paves the way for 5G, it still doesn’t change the fact that it’s confusing for customers.
Although this move is questionable, this isn’t something new. Sprint and T-mobile had earlier branded WiMax and HSPA+ respectively, to 4G. While AT&T’s somewhat real 5G networks are live, there are no devices supporting the same. Manufacturers will be releasing phones 5G-supported phones from 2019 onwards. So even if AT&T claims you are using 5G, don’t get your hopes up until 2020.