AT&T has caught some flak for the 5G Evolution, aka 5G E, branding that it uses for its 4G LTE Advanced network, and now it might finally stop using it.
The National Advertising Review Board (NARB) has recommended that AT&T discontinue both its "5G Evolution" and "5G Evolution, The First Step to 5G" claims. T-Mobile challenged that advertising and the National Advertising Division (NAD) recommended that the claims be discontinued. AT&T appealed that decision, and now the NARB has come to the same ruling.
The NARB and NAD are both part of the ad industry's system of regulation and both are divisions of the Better Business Bureau.
AT&T has said that it "respectfully disagrees" with the NARB decision, saying that customers benefit from faster speeds and performance that its network provides. As a supporter of the self-regulatory process of the NARB, though, AT&T says it will comply with the recommendation.
While AT&T hasn't come out and confirmed that it will discontinue the use of 5G Evolution and 5G E, it's decision to comply with the NARB's decision does make it sound like that'll be the case.
Some people have taken issue with AT&T's 5G Evolution branding since its launch two years ago. They feel that the "5G Evolution" name could lead some folks to believe that what they're getting is 5G service when it's really 4G LTE Advanced. These 4G LTE Advanced technologies do help get faster speeds, but they're still 4G and not 5G.
What will be interesting is seeing if AT&T does discontinue the use of 5G Evolution is how it'll explain that decision to consumers. Lots of AT&T customers currently see "5G E" on their phones, and they might get confused if one day that suddenly changes to "4G".
UPDATE: AT&T has clarified in a statement to Light Reading that while it will stop advertising its 5G Evolution network, it will not change the "5G E" icon that appears on customers' phones.