AT&T’s “5G E” service is slightly slower than Verizon’s and T-Mobile’s advanced 4G LTE networks, a study by OpenSignal has found.
As Ars readers know, AT&T renamed a large portion of its 4G network, calling it “5G E,” for “5G Evolution.” If you see a 5G E indicator on an AT&T phone, that means you’re connected to a portion of AT&T’s 4G LTE network that supports standard LTE-Advanced features such as 256 QAM, 4×4 MIMO, and three-way carrier aggregation. All four major carriers have rolled out LTE-Advanced. But while Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile accurately call it 4G, AT&T calls it 5G E.
Sprint sued AT&T, alleging that AT&T is gaining an unfair advantage by making false and misleading claims to consumers.
AT&T’s network name change may well trick consumers into thinking they’re getting better service than a 4G operator, but they aren’t. We already knew that 5G E has no technological advantage over LTE-Advanced, because they are the same thing with different names. But actual speed tests could reinforce that point.