But try, if you will, to recall the ridiculousness that took place just prior to LTE's proliferation. "We can enable faster speeds now, and upgrade to 5G".
This week the carrier has used the backdrop of CES to tout new 5G milestones and then mercilessly mocked rival AT&T for confusing its customers with "fake 5G" icons on their phones. The Samsung Galaxy S8 Active, LG V30, and LG V40 are among the devices that received this update, and whenever they connect to certain portions of the carrier's network, they'll display the inaccurate icon. Although the "5G E" network may run slightly faster than the current 4G service, it's essentially the existing 4G network with some added features that can boost speed.
Donovan said the 5G E icon will be used in 400 markets across the USA where AT&T has deployed advanced LTE technologies.
As things stand, the company's 5G E infrastructure and hardware is "all 5G ready". At worst, it's a flat-out lie.
What should AT&T customers expect from their 5G Evolution connections? AT&T said data traffic on its mobile network has grown more than 470,000% since 2007 with video making up half of mobile data.
LTE Advanced is not 5G, despite what AT&T might want you to believe.
By the end of 2018, AT&T offered high-speed internet to over 660,000 locations across 18 states in mostly rural areas through technologies like Fixed Wireless Internet, as part of the FCC Connect America Fund. AT&T plans to reach over 880,000 locations in 2019 and 1.1 million locations by the end of 2020 in those 18 states. This is a major reason why many unlocked phones show "LTE" versus "4G", to avoid this confusion, and why it's called 4G LTE versus just simply 4G. And competitors Verizon and T-Mobile aren't impressed.
Competitor network T-mobile decided to make fun of this announcement by tweeting a video of a person posting a sticky note saying "9G" on their phone. But that tweet was also pretty ironic. Why?
But industry experts warned that this is simply the company's marketing strategy and is different from the standards-based 5G network that USA mobile carriers are building.
T-Mobile shares were virtually unchanged Wednesday, dropping a nickel to $67.72.