US telecommunications behemoth AT&T has been roundly criticized by its rival operators in the United States who have described its 5G marketing as ‘overhyped’ and ‘misleading’.
US operator Verizon has urged those within the industry to resist the temptation to overhype and subsequently under-deliver on the promise of next-generation technology. In a statement released by Verizon, it’s CTO, Kyle Malady pointed out that whilst new technologies including AI, virtual reality and Internet of Things would all be underpinned by 5G, he stressed the importance of being realistic in terms of what operators can actually deliver in relation to the revolutionary technology.
AT&T launched a mobile 5G service towards the end of 2018, and claimed that it was offering the service to select businesses and consumers in 12 US cities via a mobile hotspot device provided by Netgear. The network operator has adopted an ambitious approach to 5G and was also pushing its 5G Evolution program which promised users speeds faster than your standard LTE.
In addition to this, it was also disclosed in a previous statement by AT&T that Android devices from the operator will display a 5G E logo pop-up on the home screen which would indicate they have connected to AT&T’s 5G evolution experience.
However, critics have claimed that the service provided by AT&T should not be considered as a 5G network offering. Verizon’s CTO said, “If network providers, equipment manufacturers, handset makers, app developers and others in the wireless ecosystem engage in behaviour designed to purposefully confuse consumers, public officials and the investment community about what 5G really is, we risk alienating the very people we want most to join in developing and harnessing this exciting new technology.”
Although not mentioned by name, Verizon’s comments appear to be directed at its main rival AT&T.
Verizon is still preparing for its mobile 5G launch after deploying a fixed wireless access service in October 2018.
In another apparent swipe at AT&T’s Android device move, Malady also cautioned on the industry to only commit to labelling something 5G if new device hardware is connecting the network using new radio technology to deliver new capabilities.
The CTO added, “Verizon is making this commitment today: we won’t take an old phone and just change the software to turn the 4 in the status bar into a 5.”
Also turning up the heat was T-Mobile US, which didn’t pass up the opportunity to seemingly mock AT&T on Twitter, while making the same point as Verizon. “Didn’t realise it was this easy, brb updating,” the operator said on its official Twitter account, with the message accompanied by a video of someone taping a 9G sticker on a smartphone.