AT&T drops 5G Evolution branding

AT&T bowed to pressure from advertising watchdogs around branding its LTE-A network as 5G Evolution, following concerns the naming could mislead consumers.

An operator representative told Mobile World Live it “respectfully disagrees” with National Advertising Review Board (NARB) conclusion, but will comply with its direction to drop the term from TV, radio and online adverts.

NARB is the appeals division of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation, which is run by the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

The bureau investigated after T-Mobile US complained about the moniker, deciding the 5G Evolution name was “misleading” because it implied “a level of technology that AT&T’s service does not deliver”.

This view was upheld by NARB on 20 May, because the naming was “not likely to alert consumers to the fact that the service is not 5G”.

AT&T did not respond to questions about whether the logo would be removed from phones.

The operator faced a backlash after introducing the branding in 2018, with competitors accusing it of false advertising.

Sprint filed a lawsuit in February 2019 to stop AT&T using the term, but later settled the case.