AT&T is expanding its 5G network to more cities this year.
Expect it to roll out in Indianapolis this summer, AT&T says, with the eventual goal of rolling out its "5G Evolution" network in 20 U.S. cities by the end of 2017. Users can expect download speeds twice as fast on average with the new network.
Is AT&T's 5G Evolution Really 5G?
According to the official press release, users would need either a Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus to take advantage of the so-called 5G Evolution network. Numerous other devices will also come with 5G Evolution support later on, says AT&T.
The said network will offer twice the speeds of its 4G LTE network, and while that may technically be true, the company is now under fire from a number of tech publications for allegedly passing off its 5G Evolution network as real 5G technology.
A 5G Marketing Move
So why are they claiming that AT&T's 5G Evolution network is bogus? Well, for starters, 5G technology, while inevitable, simply doesn't exist yet. There are just no set standards for it at present time. Hence, there's actually still no 5G at all.
Standard telecommunication organizations have yet to define and lay the terms of what 5G actually is, but many expect it to operate under a millimeter wave band transmission, which is an entirely new type of technology — up leaps and bounds from current LTE networks.
But the technology AT&T describes in its 5G Evolution network is not what's considered as 5G. According to the press release, 5G Evolution uses "carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO, 256 QAM and more" to reach 5G speeds. Simply put, AT&T is simply leveraging existing LTE-Advanced and LTE-Advanced Pro standards to deliver faster speeds.
Moreover, AT&T's buzzwords would be a lot more believable and dazzling if not for the fact that T-Mobile has been using the same technology to up its LTE network speeds since last September.
Granted, AT&T might also be leveraging a different type of network technology only possible on the Galaxy S8 — LTE-U — but it still wouldn't count to genuine 5G.
All told, AT&T itself might know fully well that its 5G network isn't a legitimate one, at least as informed by 5G standards, or the lack thereof. For instance, it only refers to it as "5G Evolution" and describes it as "the foundation for our evolution to 5G."
What This Means For Other Carriers
Perhaps AT&T has simply branded currently existing technology as 5G and plans to pass it off to consumers to indicate that it's leading the 5G evolution.
So there you have it. AT&T 5G Evolution is quite simply not 5G, just faster 4G LTE speeds, regardless of how many buzzwords the carrier describes the technology with. AT&T's move paves the way for other carriers to do their own 5G branding as we wait for true 5G standards, so there's bound to be some confusion whether 5G is really here or not. It's not. Not yet, anyway.
Thoughts about AT&T's 5G Evolution network? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!