T-Mobile pokes fun at AT&T and its new 5G E icon


AT&T has been the target of a lot of criticism in recent weeks after confirming that it would roll out a “5G E” icon to Android phones that support its 5G Evolution network, which actually uses 4G LTE technologies like 4×4 MIMO, 256 QAM, and 3-way carrier aggregation to boost download speeds. Now that 5G E icon has begun rolling out, and T-Mobile decided to poke fun at it.

In a brief video posted to the official T-Mobile account on Twitter, we can see someone sticking a little piece of paper that says “9G” to an iPhone screen. “Didn’t realize it was this easy, brb updating” T-Mo said in its tweet.

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.” It looks like he was serious.

In that same blog post, Legere tried to get ahead of folks that would say T-Mobile did the same thing as AT&T when it branded its HSPA+ coverage as “4G” back in 2010. “Oh, and if you want to talk about 4G and HSPA+, try checking in with the standards bodies that classified HSPA+ as 4G. Then, let’s talk,” Legere said.

Source: T-Mobile (Twitter)

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  • MisterListerSir

    He obviously fails to mention, I am sure due solely to the character limitation, that the standards body in question simply threw their hands up on the 4G standard and gave in and lowered their bar to “all evolved 3G technologies” because all of the carriers were lying.

    I mean, he’s right; but not because T-Mobile was not playing these exact games back then.

    • SirStephenH

      ^ This!!! ^

    • Well technically Verizon wasn’t because it’s not like they could have claimed their slow AF 2.5G 3G EVDO network was “4G”.

  • Jason Caprio

    I find it hilarious that T-Mobile is poking fun at AT&T’s fake 5G, when both T-Mobile and AT&T were equally guilty calling their 3G HSPA+ “4G” back when Verizon was the first and only carrier at the time to have true LTE.

    This time around, it appears T-Mobile is definitely taking the high road. I believe AT&T is making up a fake 5G icon simply to excite people who are not tech-savvy. Unfortunately some marketing works on people that do not know any better.

    • bkat11

      Don’t think Legere was in charge of T-Mobile back then…and the global standards board named HSPA+ 4G

      • MisterListerSir

        Legere was not around back then, but…

        the global standards board named HSPA+ 4G


    • Dummy Up Meathead

      Guess you didn’t read the entire article. It was pretty long.

    • DStudio

      I was mad at T-Mobile for a year because they had the fastest network but weren’t advertising it. Their HSPA+ was faster than Verizon’s LTE, yet they weren’t getting credit for it. T-Mobile was using a new, alternative, easier to deploy technology that was the right move for them at the time. Finally they decided to advertise it as 4G, which they should have done all along.

      AT&T then followed T-Mobile’s lead, but their 4G was only half as fast (and typically didn’t even reach that level).

      So I think it’s AT&T following an old pattern: deploying existing technology behind most of the pack while branding it as something new.

      • HSPA+ was on par with and in some cases faster than the very earliest implementations of LTE but by the time T-Mobile slapped the “4G” logo on their HSPA+ network that was not the case anymore.

        Also worth noting that as T-Mobile was refarming their spectrum to easily roll out HSPA+ coverage plummeted. I was an >6 year T-Mobile customer at the time and I remember over the course of a year I started losing signal lots of places that I used to have strong signal (FTR we’re talking about well established areas of suburban Los Angeles). When I called to complain they told me I needed to get one of the newer phones that supported the new bands and everything would be fine, I stupidly believed them, renewed my contract to get a new “4G” phone and coverage with that was even worse. Stuck with T-Mobile for another aggravating year before I couldn’t take it any longer and ate the ETF to get off of T-Mobile.

  • steveb944

    Great tweet, wish they had done it as a reply to AT&T.

    The difference is HSPA+ was on par with LTE, meanwhile current AT&T 5G results are worse than LTE.

  • James Smith

    At least its not just an “E” like T-Mobile’s network.

  • Phil

    John slapped AT&T but more importantly put Apple on notice such icon would have negative effect on his iPhone sales.

    iPhones won’t be 5G ready till 12 release.
    if Apple supports AT&T fraud icon
    John will call Tim Cook out & it could get Blackberry ugly

    • Jimmy Cratner

      And you know that Tim Cook will do everything it can to save $10 difference on a chipset… I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he surpassed real 5G after it was available and made it the following year’s “Revolutionary” feature.