AT&T Android 5GE

AT&T has been involved in one of the most scummy marketing campaigns we’ve seen in quiet some time lately. The company’s “5G E,” or “5G Evolution” rebrand of 4G LTE has shown up on a lot of smartphones over the past few months, and now, it’s been added to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).

First spotted by XDA-Developers, the 5G E icon has been added to AOSP. That means that Android as a whole will start recognizing 5G E as a valid option, and it even could hint at unlocked devices, Google’s Pixel for example, running on AT&T could now show the icon.

Previously, this icon had to be manually added to devices. AT&T added it to Samsung devices it sells, numerous other Android devices, and even iPhones.

This is definitely not a good thing, though. AT&T’s 5G Evolution campaign is, to put it frankly, a blatant lie to consumers. The underlying technology of 5G E is simply 4G LTE-A. Other carriers use the same tech, but AT&T’s branding is clearly meant to mislead consumers.

And sadly, it’s worked. Reports are seen all over the place with consumers who truly do think that their phones somehow got a 5G upgrade overnight. Sprint even sued AT&T over the branding, but later settled.

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Ben Schoon

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