AT&T says it will have nationwide 5G by early 2020 as exec defends controversial ‘5G E’ branding

U.S. carriers are racing to get 5G up and running, and with the transition from 4G LTE, there’s a ton of controversy regarding the upcoming new wireless standards. Most of the controversy is coming from AT&T, which recently pushed an update to select Android phones to replace the 4G LTE logo with a 5G E logo instead.

According to a report from VentureBeat, AT&T says that it wants to roll out its 5G network by early 2020. The company says its 5G network will be using millimeter wave technology and sub-6GHz, low-frequency bands to accomplish high-speed data. AT&T plans on beginning the rollout later this year.

AT&T specifically says that it plans to “begin deploying that lower band spectrum in the second half of this year.”

AT&T has been catching fire because it has been rebranding some of its 4G LTE network “5G E” or 5G Evolution. AT&T’s senior vice president for wireless technology Igal Elbaz (via Toms Guide) is defending the company’s move to have certain Android smartphones replace the current 4G LTE logo to 5G E.

“We’ve been talking about 5G Evolution for a while now. We were pretty public about what we were doing and what we were deploying,” said Elbaz.

“What we’re trying to do is two things. One is to let the customer know that they are in an enhanced experience market or area. So we’re letting them know this on the device. And there are close to 20 devices that support this.”

Similar to the transition to 4G LTE, AT&T is trying to get ahead of the game by somewhat misleading the customer into thinking they have 5G service. During the transition to 4G LTE, AT&T rebranded its HSPA+ network as “4G”, despite it still using 3G technologies.

Years later, AT&T finds itself in the same situation. It’s 5G E network is based on the existing LTE-A technologies, which other carriers such as T-Mobile and Verizon have had around for quite some time.

What do you think? Is AT&T’s rebranding of LTE-A worth calling it 5G E? Let us know in the comments below!

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