They're pushing an update to Samsung phones that passes off their LTE-A with carrier aggregation, LAA, 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM as 5G-E (fake 5G), and now T-Mobile and Verizon are calling them out on it. Meaning you got 5G service in your home, but as soon as you got into your vehicle, you were back on 4G LTE. However, it also still means people using "5G Evolution" devices will need to purchase a newer smartphone in order to experience true 5G speeds.
The push to garner more of that 5G buzz underscores excitement for the technology, which promises to bring a significant boost to speed and responsiveness, and serve as a foundation for other trends like self-driving cars, the Internet of Things and telemedicine. The new 5G E icon is expected to reach more AT&T phones throughout the year. AT&T hasn't really upgraded it's network a whole lot in the past few years, so if anything it is likely slower compared to Verizon and T-Mobile's network.
"W$3 e'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", Verizon CTO Kyle Malady wrote in a [emphasis theirs].
Verizon isn't the only carrier that's voicing its opinion on AT&T's actions. But what Verizon left out of that announcement was the fact that their 5G network was a fixed network.
AT&T recently updated its phones to replace "LTE" with "5G E". It took to Twitter to post a video showing someone putting a sticky note over an iPhone's LTE logo to relabel it "9G" with the caption "didn't realize it was this easy". It was the ideal reaction to AT&T's new updates for some Samsung and LG smartphones. AT&T will also use millimeter-wave spectrum for higher speeds, but didn't provide details on when that will go live or how extensively it will be deployed. AT&T initially knocked T-Mobile, but eventually made the same switch.
Overall T-Mobile's business is strong going into the new year. Instead of launching smartphones first.
The results come ahead of T-Mobile and Sprint continuing to work through their proposed $26 billion merger that will integrate the third- and forth-biggest wireless carriers in the US.