In 2017, AT&T began to similarly use the trademark 5G Evolution (5G E) to refer to LTE networks upgraded to support higher data speeds via LTE Advanced and LTE Advanced Pro features, such as 4x4 MIMO antennas, 256-QAM, and three-way carrier aggregation. AT&T promotes these services as having a theoretical top speed of 400 Mbit/s. The suite is supported on certain high-end Android smartphones offered by the carrier, such as the LG V30 and the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S9, and the iPhone XR and XS. In late 2018, AT&T began to deploy software updates to display a "5G E" network indicator when connected to such a network. 5G Evolution is unrelated to actual 5G wireless standards under development. AT&T states that these technologies "serve as the runway to 5G by boosting the existing LTE network and priming it for the future of connectivity", and argued that "the customer doesn't need to think about the exact technology - they only care on the performance and what it enables." AT&T once again faced allegations that the branding was misleading, because it is merely a rebranding of existing 4G networks in order to ride upon consumer anticipation of actual 5G technology. T-Mobile US and Verizon Wireless have deployed similar late-stage upgrades in a larger number of markets than AT&T, but promote them as being upgrades to their 4G LTE service. T-Mobile mocked the branding via a video on Twitter, showing a person applying a sticky note reading "9G" over the LTE indicator on an iPhone, captioned "didn't realize it was this easy, brb updating". Technology website The Verge noted that the South American wireless carrier Claro had been using the branding "4.5G" (stylized to make the 4 slightly smaller than the 5) to promote similar upgrades to its LTE service, but felt that this brand was "not as baldfaced a deception as AT&T's 5G E".
In February 2019, Sprint Corporation sued AT&T Mobility for false advertising, presenting evidence that consumers were being misled into believing these services were of equal or higher performance than actual 5G networks. Sprint sought an injunction to halt AT&T's promotion of the network with this trademark. However, the two parties later settled.
Tests by Opensignal found the "5G E" networks to be slower than T-Mobile and Verizon's equivalent (4G) networks.
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