4G became available to the public in 2009-2011. After that, LTE-Advanced technology was created for a faster connection, but it’s still 4G.
All four major cell carriers in the US have their own LTE Advanced service offering. However, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile call it 4G. AT&T refers to its 4G service as “5GE,” which the company says stands for 5G Evolution.
5GE has no technological improvement, in speed or connection, over 4G. It is the same thing with different names. In fact, a new study by OpenSignal reports that AT&Ts 5GE service is marginally slower than Verizon’s and T-Mobile’s advanced 4G LTE networks. Sprint, the slowest of the four 4G carriers, did sue AT&T for their use of the term 5GE. They claim that AT&T gains an unfair advantage by tricking consumers with the terminology. AT&T’s network name is deceiving. 5GE giving consumers the assumption that AT&T offers a better service than a 4G operator.
Projections state that 5G communication is to perform upwards of 1,000 times faster than 4G. That means devices respond in a matter of milliseconds. OpenSignal reports that “after comparing user-initiated speed tests from more than 1 million devices, AT&T’s 5GE phones get average speeds of 28.8Mbps, falling right between T-Mobile’s 29.4Mbps and Verizon’s 29.9 Mbps, and Sprint’s 20.4Mbps. The AT&T average of 18.2Mbps on non-advanced LTE was also slightly behind T-Mobile and Verizon but ahead of Sprint.” This proves that AT&T’s 5GE speeds are comparable to LTE-Advanced speeds.
OpenSignal CEO Brendan Gill says, “Our analysis shows that AT&T customers with 5GE in their status bars are receiving up to a 60 percent boost in speeds over AT&T customers without it. Of course, our analysis also shows that the same is true for the equivalent Verizon and T-Mobile customers even though they don’t see a ‘5GE’ label on their device. Bottom line if one service is offering a meaningful boost over another, it probably should be labeled differently, just not with a name that confuses customers.”
The Real 5G, not 5GE
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Brodkin, Jon. (22 Mar 2019). AT&T’s “5G E” is actually slower than Verizon and T-Mobile 5G, study finds. Ars Technica.