Mobile adds 7 million net customers in 2018

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The problem with this labeling is straightforward: While it's true that there's a technical path for 4G LTE service to evolve into 5G, that evolution hasn't happened yet.

Don't think you've got 5G cellular service just because of that that 5GE logo on the top of your phones.

The US operator has justified the action by claiming upgrades to 4G are laying the foundation for 5G and that when standards-based 5G is available, the devices will display a '5G+' icon. They're pushing an update to Samsung phones that passes off their LTE-A with carrier aggregation, LAA, 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM as 5G-E (fake 5G), and now T-Mobile and Verizon are calling them out on it. The "E" is meant to stand for "Evolution" and will be displayed in areas where AT&T's service conforms to certain advanced characteristics of 4G LTE service.

But AT&T is forging ahead.

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"The T-Mobile team delivered our best customer results ever in Q4 2018, and we did it in a competitive climate while working hard to complete our merger with Sprint", said T-Mobile CEO John Legere.

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.

In an interview with Tom's Guide, AT&T's Senior Vice President for Wireless Technology, Igal Elbaz, stated that the carrier isn't trying to mislead its customers. "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. The 5G network initially went live in parts of 12 cities, and is expected to launch in another seven cities in the first half of 2019. Regardless of the aesthetic change, AT&T phones are not running on a 5G network.

An AT&T announcement yesterday said that its real 5G network will be ready nationwide in early 2020, using sub-6GHz spectrum.

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