Sprint sues AT&T over 5G branding

FILE PHOTO – A woman walks past a Sprint store in New York City, U.S., April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) – Sprint Corp sued AT&T Inc late on Thursday, saying it is misleading consumers into believing that they are using fifth generation wireless network, known as 5G, a technology that has not yet been widely deployed.

AT&T customers are seeing “5G E” logo on their mobile devices in over 400 markets. Although users are still using 4G network, AT&T is calling it 5G Evolution, a faster version of its existing network and a first step on the road to 5G.

5G can offer data speeds up to 50 or 100 times faster than 4G networks.

Smartphones running on both Android and Apple’s iOS platforms are sporting “5G E” for AT&T customers, even though those phones are not equipped to support 5G.

Sprint said a survey showed 54 percent of AT&T’s consumers believed their “5G E” network is the same as or better than a 5G network and 43 percent believed that if they buy an AT&T phone today, it would be capable of running on 5G.

Last month, Sprint said it plans to release 5G smartphones with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in the United States during the summer, while rival Verizon Communications Inc in December also disclosed similar plans for the first half of 2019.

AT&T did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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