AT&T has rolled out a software update that displays a fake 5G logo, tricking users into thinking they're connected to a network of the next-generation wireless technology.
Needless to say, the carrier may be trying way too hard to jump the gun on this one.
AT&T's Fake 5G Logo
So far, at least three phones have been confirmed (via 9to5Google) to have received the update: the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active, LG V30, and LG V40. What happens is they show "5G E" instead of the usual "LTE" in the top corner of their display when they connect to a part of carrier's LTE network that received a speed bump, according to The Verge.
"5G E" stands for "5G Evolution," which is what AT&T calls its upgrade for its wireless networks. Put differently, it's an advanced version of 4G LTE. Now the "Evolution" bit is supposed to make it clear it isn't really 5G, but it doesn't do a very good job in doing that. In short, it's a marketing ploy.
This development isn't much of a surprise. Back in December, AT&T did say it was going to put a fake 5G icon on some of its phones.
The problem here is it's outright lying to its subscribers just to have an edge on its rivals. For the record, the Galaxy S8 Active, LG V30, and LG V40 aren't even compatible with 5G. Even if they connect to one of the carrier's 5G networks, they won't be able to use 5G connectivity. Smartphone makers are expected to start rolling out 5G-capable devices sometime during the first half of 2019.
AT&T plans to expand this "upgrade" to even more phones in spring 2019, which could include the likes of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, to name two. The Verge says that there are 17 devices in total that can use "5G E" and that the carrier says this network will be live in 400 markets soon.