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AT&T’s ‘5G Evolution’ Branding Deemed ‘Misleading,’ Will Be Discontinued

(Image credit: How-To Geek)

A National Advertising Review Board (NARB) panel has recommended to AT&T that it stop using the term “5G Evolution” to describe its 4G LTE network because the language is misleading.

AT&T said it would stop using the terms "5G Evolution" and "5G Evolution, The First Step to 5G” in its advertising. But it will end the small “5G E” logo that appears on subscriber smart phones when they access 4G LTE networks. 

“AT&T respectfully disagrees with the reasoning and result reached by the panel majority,” AT&T said in a statement. “AT&T’s customers nationwide continue to benefit from dramatically superior speeds and performance that its current network provides. As a supporter of the self-regulatory process, however, AT&T will comply with the NARB’s decision.”

The branding has been under scrutiny among AT&T’s competitors since AT&T first introduced it in late 2018. In short, competitors--and consumer groups--feel AT&T is incorrectly branding 4G services as 5G.

T-Mobile challenged the strategy with the National Advertising Division, which recommended that AT&T stop using the language. The NARB’s panel ruling was a response to an AT&T appeal. 

“Agreeing with NAD's findings and recommendations, the NARB panel determined that both claims will mislead reasonable consumers into believing that AT&T is offering a 5G network and recommended that the claims be discontinued,” an NARB statement reads.