Verizon adds more phone subscribers than expected in fourth quarter

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AT&T is pretending like 5G is already here – and misleading users

AT&T's "5G E" service is, therefore, nothing of the sort. In reality, AT&T hasn't really deployed a 5G network yet - it's just renaming LTE Advanced and LTE Advanced Pro to 5GE.

T-Mobile US's fourth-quarter wireless customer gains surpassed analyst estimates and topped strong growth at larger rival Verizon Communications, continuing the company's run as the fastest-growing USA mobile carrier. Chief executive John Legere is keen to brag about T-Mobile's progress on the 5G front, especially as the carrier continues to expand its customer base through an aggressive marketing strategy.

But AT&T is forging ahead.

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. "Didn't realize it was this easy, brb updating", it wrote under a video showing someone simply taping a "9G" sticker onto an iPhone.

Verizon this week pledged that it won't falsely call 4G phones 5G, and AT&T's name change was also mocked by T-Mobile and Sprint.

Donovan said the 5G E icon will be used in 400 markets across the U.S. where AT&T has deployed advanced LTE technologies. "And I love the fact that we broke our industry's narrative two days ago, and they're frustrated and gonna do what they're gonna do", Donovan added.

AT&T's only real 5G offering is a Netgear mobile hotspot that costs $499.

AT&T drew the ire of consumers and rivals alike this week when it started changing 4G icons on select smartphones to a fake 5G icon.

As things stand, the company's 5G E infrastructure and hardware is "all 5G ready".

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