Sprint Sues AT&T over Its Fake 5G Branding

Megalith

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In AT&T’s world, 5G only means 4G LTE. This falsehood has already been mocked by T-Mobile and Verizon, but Sprint is especially worried because it could give consumers the idea that 5G isn’t much of an upgrade. Therefore, the Kansas-based telecommunications giant has decided to sue, “seeking an injunction to prevent AT&T from using 5GE tags on its devices or advertising.” AT&T has defended their 5G Evolution branding in its response: “our customers love it.”

In its claim, Sprint said it commissioned a survey that found 54 percent of consumers believed the "5GE" networks were the same as or better than 5G, and that 43 percent think if they buy an AT&T phone today it will be 5G capable, even though neither of those things are true. Sprint's argument is that what AT&T is doing is damaging the reputation of 5G, while it works to build out what it calls a " legitimate early entry into the 5G network space."
 

Brokennails

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I'm all in for what Sprint is doing, just wish they would improve their network before throwing stones lol.
 

$trapped

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If only there existed an arbitration court to oversee disputes like this.... /s
 

bigdogchris

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Why can't AT&T phones say 4G LTE-E or 4G LTE-A for their new technology ... it's clear what they are doing.

5Ge ... (n)
 

JSumrall

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This isn't the first time they've done it. I'm not sure why everyone is suing them over it this time and not the previous times.

We used to have a name for the fake 4G version of this; fauxG. When your phone would say 4G but when you looked at what radio it was pulling from, it was clearly connected to the 3G network, and there wasn't even a 4G network anywhere in site on the map.
 

stephen2002

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Good! Tech people might understand the lie but the average customer is just going to go "oh I have 5G, that's one more than 4G, must be better".
 

Abhaxus

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This isn't the first time they've done it. I'm not sure why everyone is suing them over it this time and not the previous times.

We used to have a name for the fake 4G version of this; fauxG. When your phone would say 4G but when you looked at what radio it was pulling from, it was clearly connected to the 3G network, and there wasn't even a 4G network anywhere in site on the map.

I'm still tickled when Android auto shows my AT&T GS7 signal as H instead of the AT&T 4G branding when I'm on HSPA+. Haven't worked in or cared about the mobile industry in ages.
 

STEM

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AT&T sucks balls, but hey, so does Sprint. This is the pot calling the kettle black...
 

Zarathustra[H]

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While I think AT&T is doing something really shitty here, if we are going to be fair about it, 5G really isn't that much faster than 4G.

The industry is falling over itself to praise 5G as the second coming of Christ and how it is going to revolutionize everything, but that just isn't the truth.

The preliminary 5G spec has two frequency ranges.

Frequency Range 1, the sub 6Ghz bands is where typical cell tower spectrum resides. There is very little room for improvement here, so in real terms, bandwidth will only increase between 15%-50%, and probably closer to the lower range over current LTE-Advanced.

Where the "revolutionary" bandwidth increases come, is in Frequency Range 2, which is in the 24-86Ghz range. This is millimeter wave territory. We are talking 40Gbit/s bandwidth here, which really could change things, but there are two very large and insurmountable problems. The more you increase the frequency, the less penetration you get, and the shorter range you get. Millimeter waves in this frequency are estimated to have ranges of less than a couple of hundred yards, and only that if they have perfect line of sight. If anything what so ever gets between the tower and the device communicating with it, you'll pretty much lose signal right away.

In other words, all the promise of 5G comes in Frequency Range 2, but it is pretty much useless due to range and line of sight issues.

This leaves Frequency Range 1, which is essentially an incremental improvement of 15-50% over LTE-Advanced.

5G is a small, marginal improvement. It is not revolutionary. Someone should sue all the CEO's and telecom thought leaders for making it seem like it will change the world. It won't.
 

nilepez

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I'm all in for what Sprint is doing, just wish they would improve their network before throwing stones lol.
It's only a matter of time before the Sprint and T-Mobile are merged, which should give us a better network after they convert everything to (I assume) GSM.
 

kromc5

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Considering our wonderful FCC let AT&T screw the tax payers out of 3 billion I'm all for it.
 

bigddybn

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It's only a matter of time before the Sprint and T-Mobile are merged, which should give us a better network after they convert everything to (I assume) GSM.
LTE has rendered the past difference between CDMA/GSM/etc pretty much moot. Assuming a phone has a radio capable of operating on both band frequencies then there really isn't anything that needs to be "converted."
 

nilepez

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LTE has rendered the past difference between CDMA/GSM/etc pretty much moot. Assuming a phone has a radio capable of operating on both band frequencies then there really isn't anything that needs to be "converted."

1. There's no way they're not converting everything to GSM.
2. AFAIK CDMA and GSM are not interoperable, so while you might be able to use a current phone on both networks, you probably can't handoff from the CDMA network to GSM (or vice versa).

My gut says you'd need to use 2 sim cards which means 2 phone numbers. I worked in this industry. This is going to be a huge project. I don't envy them having to migrate all those customers (sprints I assume) to a T-Mobiles billing system. That is a HUGE endeavor. My guess is it will take a year or 2 for them to fully integrate their customers and the networks.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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AFAIK CDMA and GSM are not interoperable, so while you might be able to use a current phone on both networks, you probably can't handoff from the CDMA network to GSM (or vice versa).

This is what Google's FI does. It does require some special switching hardware on the phones though, which is why full compatibility with Fi is limited to a rather small subset of handsets:

LG G7 ThinQ
LG V35 ThinQ
Moto X4 (Android One version)
Moto G6
Nexus 6
Nexus 5X
Nexus 6P
Pixel and Pixel XL
Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL
 

nilepez

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This is what Google's FI does. It does require some special switching hardware on the phones though, which is why full compatibility with Fi is limited to a rather small subset of handsets:

LG G7 ThinQ
LG V35 ThinQ
Moto X4 (Android One version)
Moto G6
Nexus 6
Nexus 5X
Nexus 6P
Pixel and Pixel XL
Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

Nice, but I have little doubt that T-Mobile will move Spring customers to their system and presumably their plans. I've been in Telecom for a long time and things tht you'd think are easy (ex creating a cell plan) are typically difficult to create and issues are pretty common. Migration is a PITA and switching from CDMA to GSM requires a lot of changes. When i did a search yesterday, I found a thread on howardforums where someone said they were already working on the migration software, but I assume TMobile is smart enough to do that migration a little bit at a time. They surely don't want to screw up like Sprint did when migrating Nextel to Sprint (a total disaster as I recall. My guess is most Nextel users bailed on Sprint.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Nice, but I have little doubt that T-Mobile will move Spring customers to their system and presumably their plans. I've been in Telecom for a long time and things tht you'd think are easy (ex creating a cell plan) are typically difficult to create and issues are pretty common. Migration is a PITA and switching from CDMA to GSM requires a lot of changes. When i did a search yesterday, I found a thread on howardforums where someone said they were already working on the migration software, but I assume TMobile is smart enough to do that migration a little bit at a time. They surely don't want to screw up like Sprint did when migrating Nextel to Sprint (a total disaster as I recall. My guess is most Nextel users bailed on Sprint.


I agree. I believe you are right here. It makes no sense for them to keep maintaining different systems. I was just pointing out that it is possible to switch between the two.
 

nilepez

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I agree. I believe you are right here. It makes no sense for them to keep maintaining different systems. I was just pointing out that it is possible to switch between the two.
Sorry, I did get that (and didn't think that was possible either). I'm going to be interested to see how they handle it, since I am a Sprint Customer. I hope that T-Mobile manages to stay reasonably priced, though odds are this will increase prices, but if they are at least not much more than now and they have a significantly better network then that'll be awesome. I also won't mind using my phone overseas with my USA sim card without additional fees (though I must admit that prepaid plans in the EU are ridiculously cheap (under 20 bucks for 1 month with 7-10GB of data), so I can live with the current structure too.
 

JSumrall

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LTE has rendered the past difference between CDMA/GSM/etc pretty much moot. Assuming a phone has a radio capable of operating on both band frequencies then there really isn't anything that needs to be "converted."

I'm not sure if I'm reading your post correctly or not. LTE is based on GSM. So if a company is sporting CDMA and LTE, they're running two separate networks.

When AT&T moved from TDMA to GSM back in the early 2000's they basically had to build a completely new GSM network on towers that were already supporting TDMA.

Every new network technology change pretty much requires a completely separate network to be built along side the existing network. At one point, AT&T was running as many as 4 networks (GSM 2G, GSM 3G, GSM UMTS/HSPA+, and 4G LTE).

Eventually, the previous generation networks are 'sunset' and the frequencies previously supporting the legacy network are either repurposed for the current network or set aside for future network expansion (or, some times even sold to other carriers).
 
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