Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
Technology | By Nina Perez

Verizon Takes Swipe at AT&T Over Its '5G E' Upgrade

Verizon Takes Swipe at AT&T Over Its '5G E' Upgrade

Although the "5G E" network may run slightly faster than the current 4G service, it's essentially the existing 4G network with some added features that can boost speed.

"W$3 e're calling on the broad wireless industry to commit to labeling something 5G only if new device hardware is connecting to the network using new radio technology to deliver new capabilities", Verizon CTO Kyle Malady wrote in a [emphasis theirs].

AT&T confirmed plans for three 5G devices for 2019: NETGEAR Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot and two 5G smartphones from Samsung this year. The executive insisted that they were "pretty public" about what 5G E actually was. Verizon is anxious that some will "over-hype and under-deliver" as temptation slides in for the awesomeness that is the future of 5G.

"Witnessing the real, tangible and - at times - life-saving impacts that FirstNet had in 2018 fuels us to keep moving quickly to blanket the country with reliable connectivity", said Chris Sambar, AT&T's senior vice president for FirstNet, in a statement.

"What we're trying to do is let them know that there is an enhanced experience in their market", Elbaz reiterated when asked whether the 5G E term was misleading. Instead, you will still be using 4G LTE service, but with a mix of technologies (4×4 MIMO antennas, 256 QAM and carrier aggregation) that could potentially provide faster speeds. Whether those customers understand that it isn't really 5G, however, is another question.

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The advertising and marketing applications for 5G will be numerous, especially with the improvement in video download speeds that reduce the possibility that mobile users will get frustrated with slow service.

Again, it's not 5G, and other networks have the same upgrades. This is a major reason why many unlocked phones show "LTE" versus "4G", to avoid this confusion, and why it's called 4G LTE versus just simply 4G. That little space caused a big stir after AT&T made a decision to add a new symbol, called 5Ge.

AT&T said that, by the end of this year, it expects its network capacity to increase by 50% since 2017. But those technologies are part of the years-old LTE-Advanced standard, and are already used by Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint on their 4G networks.

Not to be left out, Sprint also chimed in and took shots at AT&T.

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