AT&T drops use of '5G Evolution' marketing phrase for non-5G networks

AT&T "respectfully disagrees with the reasoning and result reached by the panel majority" but will comply as "a supporter of the self-regulatory process"

AT&T will drop the use of "5G Evolution" and "5G Evolution, The First Step to 5G," in its marketing after the National Advertising Review Board determined the phrases could be misleading to consumers.

"The panel noted that the current prevalent technology in wireless is 4G LTE, and LTE stands for "evolution," the board said in a statement. "Thus, consumers may well interpret "Evolution" in the challenged claims as signifying that AT&T's technology has already evolved into 5G."

The panel added that a reasonable consumer could conclude that "The First Step to 5G" was "the advertiser's way of promoting a 5G network while promising an even more robust 5G network at a later time."

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A spokesperson for AT&T told FOX Business the company "respectfully disagrees with the reasoning and result reached by the panel majority" but as a "supporter of the self-regulatory process", the company will comply with the review board's decision.

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"AT&T’s customers nationwide continue to benefit from dramatically superior speeds and performance that its current network provides," the company added.

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The advertising at issue was challenged by competitor T-Mobile before the National Advertising Division (NAD). Following NAD's decision that the phrases be discontinued, AT&T filed an appeal.

5G speed graph / OpenSignal.com

According to Open Signal, AT&T's 5G download speeds ranked lower than most of the other telecommunications companies in the United States, Australia, South Korea and the United Kingdom, except for T-Mobile.

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