Other carriers have, unsurprisingly, called foul over AT&T's misleading marketing (which may actually have to do with the fact that it had blindsided them).
"What we're trying to do is two things". And you don't see these carriers using 5G branding.
"I think the result of last month, beating the industry out [with the 5G hotspot], and this 5G E launch a couple of days ago, our competitors are frustrated", Donovan said. The carrier is calling the combination "5G Evolution". T-Mobile, for example, trolled AT&T with a video clip on Twitter that shows someone placing a "9G" sticker on their smartphone.
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T-Mobile had a more tongue-in-cheek response.
Verizon Communications Inc on Tuesday beat Wall Street estimates for net new phone subscribers who pay a monthly bill, adding 650,000 customers in the fourth quarter. In it, Kyle Malady, Verizon's chief technical officer, writes, "We'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 is making this commitment today", Verizon said. 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. Verizon is anxious that some will "over-hype and under-deliver" as temptation slides in for the awesomeness that is the future of 5G.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere addressed the situation in his recent 2019 predictions blog post, saying that AT&T would "basically be lying to their customers" with this 5G E icon and promising that he and the rest of T-Mo "will continue to call them on it". Donovan's comment about creating a narrative suggests the company is well aware of this.