In the quest to deliver true 5G technology, wireless carriers have naturally been trying every angle they can to promote their own 5G services as superior to the competition. This has resulted in a confusing assortment of letters and symbols often appearing after the letters “5G” on your smartphone to suggest that you’re getting service that is somehow better than the norm.


  • When 5G isn’t actually 5G
  • 5GE wasn’t well received
  • So, what is 5GE then?

* What about other 5G symbols?

While this may be true in some cases, there’s at least one exception where it means the exact opposite: AT&T’s “5GE” or “5G Evolution” isn’t what you probably think it is.

When 5G isn’t actually 5G

AT&T jumped the gun on the move to 5G. To capitalize on the hype around 5G, it decided it would try and communicate to its customers that it was getting ready for the new technology — “evolving” its network into 5G, if you will.

For many carriers, the road to 5G does require some upgrades to existing 4G/LTE networks, and AT&T was no exception. However, rather than waiting until its proper 5G infrastructure was in place and ready to support its customers, the carrier decided it should label its enhanced 4G/LTE network as the “5G Evolution” network, and the “5GE” label was born.

However, no matter what your smartphone tells you, “5GE” is not 5G. The symbol that shows up in your status bar isn’t magically determined by the iOS or Android operating systems looking at the cellular network your phone is on; it’s entirely there at the whim of the carrier.

When AT&T pulled this stunt in 2019, many folks were misled into believing their 4G/LTE smartphones had suddenly gained 5G capabilities. For example, even though Apple didn’t release its first 5G device until the iPhone 12 came along in 2020, AT&T customers with an iPhone XS or iPhone XR began seeing a “5GE” icon light up on the devices when iOS 12.2 landed in early 2019. Owners of the original Samsung Galaxy S10 and Pixel 4 had similar experiences.

No 4G/LTE smartphone can gain 5G capabilities through a software update. This was deceptive marketing on AT&T’s part, plain and simple, and its rivals quickly started calling the carrier out its nonsense.

5GE wasn’t well received

Sprint filed a lawsuit against AT&T, stating that “the significance of AT&T’s deception cannot be overstated.” Among Sprint’s concerns was that AT&T’s “false advertising” would damage the reputation of real 5G by misleading consumers into believing that 5G wasn’t any faster than 4G/LTE.

“Calling its network 5GE does not make it a 5G network,” read Sprint’s complaint, and it “instead deceives customers into believing it is something that it is not.”

To make matters worse, 5GE turned out to be a bit slower than its competitors’ 4G/LTE services, which wasn’t surprising considering it’s just 4G in disguise. However, one might have expected that AT&T’s “upgraded” 4G/LTE network would actually result in some performance improvements.

An early 2019 report from Opensignal confirmed that AT&T users with “5GE-capable smartphones” did get a better experience than “users with less capable smartphones,” but it also clarifies that those “5GE-capable” devices aren’t anything special — they’re just smartphones with reasonably modern 4G/LTE capabilities.

“AT&T users with a 5GE-capable smartphone receive similar speeds to users on other carriers with the same smartphone models that AT&T calls 5GE,” the report adds.

Although Sprint and AT&T “amicably settled” their lawsuit, it’s clear that Sprint didn’t get everything it was asking for. Sprint wanted an injunction that would have barred AT&T from using the “5GE” designation or anything like it. However, a source told the Dallas Business Journal, which first reported on the settlement in 2019, that AT&T would continue to use the 5G Evolution advertising because “our customers love it.”

It wasn’t until after the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) censured AT&T in 2020 that the carrier agreed to back down, at least partially. The NARB determined that AT&T’s “claims [would] mislead reasonable consumers into believing that AT&T is offering a 5G network,” and while AT&T stated that it “respectfully disagreed with the reasoning,” it promised to comply with the NARB’s decision.

In doing so, AT&T did stop advertising “5G Evolution.” However, it never backed down from using the 5GE icon on its devices.

So, what is 5GE then?

Simply put, 5GE is nothing more than a silly name for 4G LTE Advanced service. This does include class-leading features like carrier aggregation, 4×4 MIMO, and 256 QAM. Still, none of that is any different from what Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint were already offering customers with a 4G/LTE symbol.

言い換えれば、5GEは意味がありません。実際、AT&Tに5G対応のスマートフォンがある場合、本当に5Gではないことをユーモラスに確認できます。設定に移動して5Gを完全にオフにしてください。「5G」または「5G+」アイコンが「5GE」に置き換えられたアイコンが表示されます。それはバグではありません。 5Gは実際には携帯電話でオフですが、もちろん、5GEは5Gではありません。

悲しいことに、5GEが実際にTrue 5Gサービスよりも高速になる可能性がありますが、これはキャリアが低帯域5Gネットワークを構築した方法と関係があります。 5GEが特別なものではありません。単に、低帯域5Gは、4G/LTE信号と電波を共有する必要性によって妨げられているということです。


5G信号が4G/LTE信号と同じ周波数で実行されている場合、共有方法がわからないため、古いテクノロジーに屈する必要があります。その結果、5Gは残っているスペースにのみ収まります。 5GEはわずか4G/LTEであるため、ネットワークが混雑しているときに本物の5Gトラフィックよりも優先されます。ただし、携帯電話が4G/LTEと言っているVerizonの顧客にも同じことが起こります。

一番下の行は、スマートフォンに「5GE」が表示されると、4G/LTEネットワークにいるということです。 VerizonまたはT-Mobile電話で4Gから得られるレベルのサービスです。 AT&Tは別のアイコンを使用しています。



Verizonは、「5GUW」または「5GUWB」を使用して、使用しているデバイスに応じて、5G Ultra Widebandネットワークを識別します。これは当初、いくつかの主要な都市中心部のMMWave細胞のみで構成されていましたが、キャリアは最近、そのミッドレンジCバンドスペクトルを含むようにそれを拡大しました。

AT&Tは同じ方法で「5G+」または「5G Plus」を使用しますが、顧客はこのアイコンがポップアップする可能性がはるかに低くなります。 AT&TのMMWaveはスタジアムや空港などの密集した会場に限定されていますが、ミッドレンジのCバンドロールアウトはゆっくりと進んでおり、現在は8つの都市しかカバーされていません。 AT&Tは今日まで「5GE」を使用していますが、実際の5Gカバレッジから外れる場合にのみ見つけることができます。たぶん、AT&Tはそれを「5Gマイナス」と呼ぶべきです。

最も広大なミッドレンジ5Gネットワークを持っているにもかかわらず、T-Mobileは5Gアイコンを飾らないことを選択しました。あなたがT-Mobileの顧客である場合、あなたの携帯電話は、あなたが低帯域、ミッドバンド、または高帯域のMMWaveを使用しているかどうかにかかわらず、単に「5G」と言うでしょう。 T-Mobileを使用すると、農村部にいない限り、とにかく会社のミッドバンドウルトラキャパシティ5Gネットワークにいる可能性が高く、T-Mobileはこれを顧客に指摘する必要性を感じていません。



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.