National Advertising Review Board Recommends AT&T Discontinue Fake 5G Branding

Jeremy Horwitz, VentureBeat:

[…] Based on challenges brought by T-Mobile, the NARB said that AT&T should discontinue references to both “5G Evolution” and “5G Evolution, The First Step to 5G,” which a panel determined would “mislead reasonable consumers into believing that AT&T is offering a 5G network” when it was undisputed that AT&T’s 5GE was “not a 5G network.”


While AT&T said that it “respectfully disagrees” with the NARB’s decision, it will apparently comply with the decision, though it’s unclear at this point whether it will discontinue both the 5G Evolution advertisements and on-device branding, or just the ads. In addition to its 4G network, the carrier currently advertises “5GE,” “5G,” and “5G+” services that continue to be confusing and in some cases elusive to consumers, as there are still no maps for AT&T’s millimeter wave-based 5G+ in cities or states a year and a half after the service supposedly launched.

In addition to being half-baked pixie dust, 5G is also confused by AT&T’s deliberately misleading branding.

Update: AT&T confirms that it will not change the “5G E” symbol on phones. Though the NARB has a very official sounding name, it is merely a wing of the private Better Business Bureau organization, and has no regulatory power. The term “5G” has an unambiguous definition, but AT&T’s misuse of it to falsely advertise its 4G network withstood a Sprint lawsuit and has not been meaningfully objected to by any regulatory body.