AT&T has been advertising part of their network as ‘5G Evolution’ since December 2018, even going so far as to add a ‘5GE’ symbol in the corner of mobile devices when they are connected. For many, the branding has been very confusing, since the connection is, of course, not really 5G at all…
AT&T has been advertising part of their network as ‘5G Evolution’ since December 2018, even going so far as to add a ‘5GE’ symbol in the corner of mobile devices when they are connected. For many, the branding has been very confusing, since the connection is, of course, not really 5G at all, but rather merely the latest flavour of 4G LTE technology.
AT&T had tried to justify their branding by adding the epithet ‘The First Step to 5G’, but this in fact only made the message less clear, once again implying to reasonable customers that this network connection was the first steps using 5G, not the first steps towards it.
The branding also glosses over the fact that the ‘E’ in 4G LTE already stands for ‘Evolution’.
It was T-Mobile that ultimately complained about this misleading nature of the advertising, thus leading the NARB start an investigation.
Yesterday, NARB completed that investigation, ruling that the advertising would mislead reasonable customers into believing they were connecting to 5G.
“The NARB panel determined that both claims [‘5G Evolution’ and '5G Evolution, The First Step to 5G'] will mislead reasonable consumers into believing that AT&T is offering a 5G network and recommended that the claims be discontinued,” they said in a statement.
AT&T have stated that they disagree with the ruling, but will comply with its directives.
This is not the first time AT&T have gotten into branding squabbles such as this, having agreed to a $60 million settlement last year over misleading claims about its unlimited data plans.
When it comes to 5G and the race towards it, winning the war of rhetoric is considered a huge factor in future success. Indeed, we have seen similar exchanges in the UK, with Three coming under fire for its ‘If it’s not Three, it’s not real 5G’ branding, which it has since been forced to discontinue
How can telcos convey the benefits of 5G technology to their customers without overstepping the mark? Learn all about telco strategy at this year’s Total Telecom Congress
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