A 9G sticker on a smartphone. T-Mobile

  • AT&T has updated several smartphones with a fake 5G logo.
  • The 5G E logo seems designed to mislead users into thinking they’re on a 5G network.
  • AT&T’s 5G E service isn’t 5G at all, using the same technologies as the likes of T-Mobile.


AT&T has come under fire after it emerged that it was updating several phones to use a “5G E” logo in lieu of “4G.” The problem is that these phones (including the Galaxy S8 Active, LG V30, and LG V40) aren’t actually connecting to 5G networks, making the carrier’s icon misleading.

Furthermore, the “E” in “5G E” is actually much smaller than “5G.” At best, it’s a poor way of stylizing the term but, at worst, it’s a deliberate attempt to fool consumers into thinking they’re on a 5G network (spoilers: they’re still on 4G). It seems like AT&T is simply doing this so they can try claiming that they’re first to the 5G post.

The carrier will reportedly adopt the “5G E” logo in markets that use 4X4 MIMO, 256QAM and other LTE advanced technologies. But T-Mobile also offers these technologies and hasn’t resorted to using 5G-related branding — go figure.

Now, T-Mobile has posted a video to Twitter (h/t: The Verge), poking fun at the situation. The video shows a T-Mobile employee adding a “9G” sticker to a smartphone. Check it out below.

It’s a hilarious move by T-Mobile in our opinion, highlighting the absurdity of fake 5G icons in the first place. But the whole saga seems like it’s far from over, as networks have previously tried to mislead consumers regarding new-generation connectivity.

We saw similar shenanigans in the transition to the 4G era, as everything from Wi-Max to HSPA was branded as 4G by networks. This was despite the International Telecoms Union initially saying the likes of Wi-Max and HSPA don’t meet the requirements to be called 4G. Unfortunately, I don’t think AT&T will be the last carrier to pull off something like this, so you might want to check our 5G guide for a rundown of what you should be getting.

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