A newly published study shows AT&T’s “5G E” network — which is actually rebranded 4G LTE — may actually be slower than the LTE networks offered by T-Mobile and Verizon.
A study by Opensignal shows AT&T’s 5G E-capable device managed a download speed of only 28.8 megabits per second on AT&T between Jan. 28 and Feb. 26. Compare that to 29.4 megabits on T-Mobile LTE, and 29.9 megabits through Verizon LTE. Sprint was left in the dust at 20.4 megabits.
“The 5G E speeds which AT&T users experience are very much typical 4G speeds and not the step-change improvement which 5G promises,” Opensignal wrote.
AT&T’s labeling has drawn criticism from the industry, even resulting in a lawsuit by Sprint accusing it of false advertising. The labeling has appeared on AT&T iPhones in the iOS 12.2 beta. While the carrier is indeed rolling out a true 5G network, it may be using the branding to mollify customers until the true 5G network is ready.
AT&T responded to the study, saying Opensignal didn’t verify devices were tested in 5G E coverage areas. However, the devices only display the logo when actually connected to a “5G E” network, so Opensignal would have easily been able to confirm the connection.
It should be noted that the carrier previously labeled its HSPA+ network as “4G” back in 2012 following the release of iOS 5.1.