Sprint Takes Out Full Page NYT Ad Calling Out AT&T for Misleading 5GE Branding

Sprint on Sunday took out a full-page ad in The New York Times to call out AT&T for its "5GE" network labeling, which actually offers 4G speeds rather than 5G speeds.

In the letter [PDF], Sprint calls AT&T's 5G Evolution "fake 5G" and clarifies that AT&T is not, in fact, offering faster speeds than other carriers who deliver the same 4G LTE advancements that AT&T has enabled such as three-way carrier aggregation, 256 QAM, and 4x4 MIMO.

While Sprint is working hard to deliver mobile 5G and the first 5G smartphone in the U.S., AT&T is hard at work trying to convince you that they already won the race to 5G with something they call "5G Evolution." That is simply untrue.

Don't be fooled. 5G Evolution isn't new or true 5G. It is fake 5G.

They would love for you to believe they are different ... better. The truth is AT&T is simply offering customers a nationwide 4G LTE network just like Sprint and all the other major wireless carriers. It's not 5G.
AT&T first started upgrading customer iPhones to read "5GE" in the iOS 12.2 beta, and the misleading branding will become much more widespread when iOS 12.2 sees a public release.

Devices in areas with AT&T's "upgraded" LTE will display "5GE" instead of LTE, but it's not real 5G. There is no iPhone that exists right now that is capable of connecting to a 5G network, nor does AT&T offer a true 5G network at this time.

AT&T has defended itself by claiming that 5G Evolution is the "first step on the road to 5G," but customers and other carriers are not impressed with its misleading branding that has the potential to confuse customers when actual 5G networks become available. AT&T has, however, claimed that customers "love" the 5GE branding because they "want and deserve to know" when "better speeds" are available.
"We understand why our competitors don't like what we are doing, but our customers love it. We introduced 5G Evolution more than two years ago, clearly defining it as an evolutionary step to standards-based 5G. 5G Evolution and the 5GE indicator simply let customers know when their device is in an area where speeds up to twice as fast as standard LTE are available. That's what 5G Evolution is, and we are delighted to deliver it to our customers.
Sprint has done more than just take out an ad against AT&T. In early February, Sprint filed a lawsuit in federal court against AT&T in an attempt to prevent AT&T from using the 5GE labeling on AT&T smartphones. Sprint says AT&T is damaging the consumer reputation and understanding of true 5G and potentially hurting Sprint's 5G launch this summer in nine metro areas.

True 5G smartphones won't be coming until later in 2019, and the 5G networks to support them also won't be available until later in the year. Rumors suggest Apple isn't planning to introduce 5G connectivity on its iPhones until 2020 at the earliest, so 5G is not a technology iPhone users will be able to take advantage of in 2019.

Tags: Sprint, AT&T, 5G, 5GE

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Qualcomm ‘Running Out’ of Time to Win 5G Modem Orders in 2020 iPhones Amid Legal Battle With Apple

Qualcomm may be running out of time if it wants to supply Apple with 5G modems for its 2020 iPhones as some rumors suggest.


In a research note today, analysts at investment bank Barclays said that while they originally thought Qualcomm had an opportunity to supply the 5G modems to Apple, they now believe that time "seems to be running out" unless the two companies can settle their bitter legal battle in the next few weeks.

Back in November, it was reported that Apple will tap Intel as its 5G modem supplier instead, but Barclays analysts believe that the modem design for 2020 iPhones "needs to be set now," and that the expected late 2019 availability of Intel's first consumer 5G modem "does not work with Apple's timeline."

Apple recently testified that it held conversations with Samsung and MediaTek as potential alternative suppliers, but it's unclear if those companies would be able to meet Apple's production, quality, and cost demands.

Apple is also reportedly working on its own cellular modems, but research and development appears to be in the early stages.

Last week, Intel confirmed that it expects the first consumer products embedded with its 5G chips to be released in 2020, the same year Apple is rumored to release its first 5G-enabled iPhone, enabling faster data speeds.


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T-Mobile Won’t Make Serious Push Into 5G Until Second Half of 2019

T-Mobile won't be making a serious push into launching and promoting its 5G network until the second half of 2019, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said in an interview shared by CNET today.

The carrier had initially planned to promote 5G in the first half of 2019, but it is delaying that rollout because smartphones able to take advantage of its 5G network won't be available until later.

Image via CNET

According to Ray, T-Mobile had hoped that smartphone makers and chip manufacturers would have 5G devices ready to use the lower-band 600 megahertz spectrum that will power much of its 5G network, but that hasn't quite happened. The company instead plans to "go big" with 5G later in 2019.

The 5G version of the Galaxy S10 from Samsung, which will come in April, offers millimeter wave support compatible with Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint, but not T-Mobile. T-Mobile is deploying millimeter wave, but coverage at the moment is "too minimal for the company to promote."

T-Mobile is planning to use the 600MHz spectrum to power most of its 5G network because while it offers slower peak speeds, it provides better coverage than the millimeter wave spectrum that Verizon and AT&T are currently focusing on more heavily.

Early 5G devices like the Galaxy S10 5G will use millimeter wave spectrum. T-Mobile plans to sell the Galaxy S10 5G, but given that its millimeter wave deployment is so limited at this time, Ray is not sure the company will promote Samsung's newest smartphone.

CNET's original story suggested T-Mobile was delaying its 5G launch entirely, but Ray says that is not true. On Twitter, Ray clarified that 5G will still start rolling out in the first half of 2019, but that it will get "more meaningful" in the second half of the year when there are actual devices that can take advantage of the 600MHz 5G spectrum.


The network differences put T-Mobile a bit behind other cellular companies. AT&T has rolled out 5G in 12 cities, Verizon has a 5G home broadband service in a limited number of cities, and Sprint is planning to launch its 5G network in May.

T-Mobile isn't worried about AT&T and Verizon having an edge in the race to deploy 5G just because millimeter wave spectrum has such a limited range. "You can't go to a US consumer and charge them a big premium and it works on three street corners," Ray told CNET.

Full 5G rollout with faster overall speeds will require carriers to offer 5G connectivity across multiple spectrums, with the fastest, millimeter wave, limited to dense urban areas. AT&T is also planning to offer 5G on low-band spectrum starting in 2019, with nationwide coverage planned for 2020.

For Apple users, the 2019 rollout of 5G means little because there won't be iPhones able to use 5G networks until at least 2020. Rumors have suggested Apple won't introduce a 5G-capable iPhone in 2019, and Intel recently confirmed that its 5G hardware won't be in consumer products until 2020. Apple is currently using Intel's modem chips in its iPhone lineup due to an ongoing legal spat with Qualcomm.

Tags: T-Mobile, 5G

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Sprint to Start Rolling Out 5G Network in May, T-Mobile Delays Until Second Half of 2019

Sprint today at Mobile World Congress announced that its commercial 5G network will launch in May, starting in Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Kansas City. The carrier plans to expand service to Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington D.C. in the first half of 2019.


5G coverage will initially be limited to select areas of each city:
At launch, Sprint's highly mobile, on-the-go customers can expect mobile 5G coverage ranging from nearly 30 square miles covering Midtown and lower Manhattan, to approximately 230 square miles spanning the greater Dallas Fort Worth area, for a total initial 5G coverage footprint of more than 1,000 square miles across all nine cities.
Sprint plans to build a nationwide 5G network in partnership with T-Mobile should the proposed merger of the two companies be approved.


Sprint said its first 5G smartphone will be the new dual-screen LG V50 ThinQ 5G unveiled at Mobile World Congress this week, followed by the HTC 5G Hub hotspot in the spring and the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G in the summer.

Sprint also announced that it will offer 5G service to Google Fi customers with a compatible device, but there is no timeframe for the rollout.

Sprint's network will operate on the 2.5GHz spectrum and use Massive MIMO radio equipment supplied by Samsung, rather than use millimeter wave technology. Sprint chief technology officer John Saw said the carrier saw speeds of 430 Mbps in one demo, according to The Verge, significantly faster than LTE.

Update: T-Mobile has delayed the launch of its own 5G network until the second half of 2019, according to CNET.

Tags: Sprint, 5G

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Intel’s 5G Chips Won’t Appear in Mobile Phones Until 2020

Reuters reports that Intel has confirmed that it does not expect their 5G chips to be in consumer products until 2020.
Intel Corp executives said on Friday its 5G modem chips will not appear in mobile phones until 2020, raising the possibility its biggest customer, Apple Inc, will be more than a year behind rivals in delivering a device that uses the faster networks.
Intel's timeline is tied closely with Apple's product plans due to Apple's reliance on Intel chips for their iPhone modems. Previously a Qualcomm customer, Apple and Qualcomm have been at odds due to an ongoing legal battle between the two companies. In fact, Qualcomm has been reportedly unwilling to sell their chips to Apple because of the conflict.

Intel 5G Modem
That has left Apple reliant on Intel for their modem chips in the latest line of iPhones, though Apple has been exploring other vendors, and even working to develop their own chips. That plan, however, isn't expected to produce results until 2021, at least.

Apple's waiting until 2020 to deliver 5G iPhones doesn't come as a surprise as previous rumors have said the same. This statement by Intel, however, does seem to confirm some of those previous rumors.

Related Roundup: 2019 iPhones

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Barclays Believes There’s Still a ‘Good Chance’ Apple Will Have to Use Qualcomm 5G Modems in 2020 iPhones

While recent reports have suggested Intel will supply Apple with 5G modems for 2020 iPhones, the chipmaker has struggled with its consumer 5G modems, to the extent that Apple has allegedly "been unhappy" with Intel's progress.


Despite its apparent displeasure with Intel, a report in November claimed that Apple had not considered reopening conversations with Qualcomm about supplying 5G modems for 2020 iPhones. Instead, the report said Apple has held conversations with chipmaker MediaTek about 5G modems should Intel fail to deliver.

In a research note obtained by MacRumors today, however, analysts at investment bank Barclays said they "still believe there is a good chance Apple will have to use Qualcomm for the 5G modem in their 2020 phones." They also believe such a deal may result in the two companies settling their ongoing lawsuit.

It's a bold claim, as Apple and Qualcomm are engaged in a bitter legal battle around the world. The saga began in 2017 when Apple sued Qualcomm over anticompetitive business practices related to royalties. Qualcomm has denied the allegations and says the iPhone wouldn't exist without its innovations.

Apple COO Jeff Williams recently testified that Qualcomm has been unwilling to provide Apple with any new wireless chips since the legal battle began, with each company seemingly trying to gain the upper hand on the other. As of now, neither company appears willing to back down.

Qualcomm is widely considered to be leading the industry with its 5G efforts though, and there's a good chance its 5G modems will outperform similar offerings from Intel, so perhaps the two companies will find a way to settle their differences.


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AT&T’s First Mobile 5G Service Will Be Available in 12 Cities Starting Friday

AT&T today announced that it has launched its first mobile 5G service in parts of 12 cities across the United States, but 5G connectivity won't be available until Friday, when its 5G device launches.

5G connectivity has rolled out in Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Houston, Texas; Dallas, Texas; Indianapolis, Indiana; Jacksonville, Florida; Louisville, Kentucky; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; New Orleans, Louisiana; Raleigh, North Carolina; San Antonio, Texas; and Waco, Texas.


In these areas, customers who sign up as early adopters will be able to use the 5G service with a Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot. AT&T's 5G offering provides 5G connectivity speeds using mmWave spectrum, which is faster than LTE.

AT&T plans to start out with a small, limited launch in dense urban areas where mmWave works best, but promises that customers will see enhancements in "coverage, speeds and devices" over time. AT&T president Andre Fuetsch says that the company is "ready to learn fast and continually iterate" in the coming months.


During the first half of 2019, AT&T plans to expand its mobile 5G coverage to parts of additional cities that include Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose.

AT&T's Nighthawk Mobile 5G Hotspot plus 5GB of data will be available to "select businesses and consumers" at no cost for at least 90 days. Starting in the spring, customers will be able to get the device for $499 upfront and 15GB of data for $70 per month on a compatible plan.

The first Android smartphones able to take advantage of 5G networks are expected to come out in 2019, but rumors suggest Apple will not adopt support for 5G networks until at least 2020, giving the new technology time to mature.

Along with AT&T, other carriers are embracing 5G technology. Verizon, for example, launched its 5G home broadband service in October, with mobile 5G service to follow.

Tags: AT&T, 5G

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Qualcomm Says Every Android Manufacturer Will Have 5G Flagship Phone by End of 2019

Apple is reportedly waiting until at least 2020 to roll out next-generation 5G cellular data technology in its iPhone lineup, but according to Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon, "every" Android handset manufacturer will have a flagship phone with 5G support across U.S. carriers by the end of next year, reports CNET.

By the holidays next year, every flagship handset -- at least when it comes to those running Google's Android software and using Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor -- will tap into 5G, said Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon.

"When we get to exactly this time of year one year from now … we will see every [handset maker] on the Android ecosystem, their flagship across all US carriers will be a 5G device," he told CNET in an interview Tuesday at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Technology Summit in Hawaii. "Every Android vendor is working on 5G right now."
Apple is of course embroiled in a patent dispute with Qualcomm that has seen the iPhone maker shift its modem orders over to Intel. Apple is said to be targeting Intel's upcoming 8160/8161 5G modem for the iPhone, but that part won't enter mass production the second half of 2019, which means it won't start appearing in devices until the first half of 2020.

Regardless of its dispute with Qualcomm, Apple has historically not been on the cutting edge of adopting the latest cellular standards, preferring to wait until they've matured and chips have been better optimized before including the technologies in its devices, so it shouldn't necessarily come as a surprise that Apple will likely lag behind other manufacturers in pushing out 5G support.

Tags: Qualcomm, 5G

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Apple to Wait Until at Least 2020 to Release 5G iPhones

Apple won't release an iPhone that can connect to 5G data networks until at least 2020, claims a new report out today.

According to Bloomberg's sources, Apple is planning to delay its support for the next generation of high-speed mobile services coming in 2019, just as it did for previous generations.

As with 3G and 4G, the two previous generations of mobile technology, Apple will wait as long as a year after the initial deployment of the new networks before its main product gets the capability to access them, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing the company's plans.
According to Bloomberg, Apple delayed support for previous mobile network upgrades because it accurately predicted that the first versions of rival smartphones would suffer from problems like poor coverage.

However, 5G advocates argue that delaying support for the upcoming network upgrade is a bigger risk for Apple, since it represents a much bigger speed boost over previous generations, making the leap from 4G to 5G significant enough to become a major selling point for new devices.

5G advocates believe the danger for Apple is that it will be left behind by rivals like Samsung, who could exploit the delay and attract more consumers to its Galaxy smartphones, which are expected to support 5G networks next year. Likewise, Chinese mobile makers Oppo and Huawei have also signaled that they plan to offer 5G phones.

Bloomberg suggests that Apple's decision to wait another year before supporting 5G could be related to the company's feud with Qualcomm, a leader in 5G-enabled chips, and it's partnership instead with Intel, which won't have 5G chips ready in time for 2019 phones.

Rumors late last year suggested Intel and Apple were already working on 5G chip technology for future iPhone devices. Intel is said to have thousands of people working on 5G tech to catch up with Qualcomm and win Apple's 5G modem contract.

Huawei and Samsung have the manufacturing infrastructure to build 5G modems, but Apple is said to be unlikely to use chips from its smartphone rivals, who could struggle to produce adequate supplies for the iPhone's huge volumes anyway.

Whatever the reason behind the delay, some analysts believe Apple's decision could have an impact on its iPhone customer base.

"Apple has always been a laggard in cellular technology," said Mark Hung, an analyst at Gartner who spoke to Bloomberg. "They weren't impacted in the past, but 5G is going to be much easier to market. But if they wait beyond 2020, then I think they'll be impacted."

Tags: 5G, Bloomberg

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Qualcomm Announces First Fully-Integrated 5G Millimeter Wave Antenna Module

Qualcomm today announced the launch of what it says are the world's first fully-integrated 5G millimeter wave and sub-6 GHz RF modules for smartphones and other devices, with the new 5G mmWave antenna combining a 5G millimeter wave radio, power amplifier for signal boosting, and antenna array, all in a package that's small enough to fit on a fingertip.

Qualcomm's QTM052 mmWave antenna module family and its QPM56xx sub-6GHz module family are designed to pair with the previously announced Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem to pave the way for smartphones and other devices able to take advantage of 5G networks.


"Today's announcement of the first commercial 5G NR mmWave antenna modules and sub-6 GHz RF modules for smartphones and other mobile devices represents a major milestone for the mobile industry. Qualcomm Technologies' early investment in 5G has allowed us to deliver to the industry a working mobile mmWave solution that was previously thought unattainable, as well as a fully-integrated sub-6 GHz RF solution.
The new 5G mmWave antenna modules are designed to fit in the bezel of a smartphone and the idea is to put multiple antenna modules (up to four) into different locations in the bezel so a 5G signal can be received even if one of the antennas is covered up by a hand or blocked by something in the environment, as is common with the way millimeter wave signals work.

This design also boosts signal that's received, with the device able to choose the module receiving the strongest signal and swap between them seamlessly for a reliable 5G connection. Up to 800MHz of bandwidth in the 26.5-29.5 GHz, 27.5-28.35 GHz, and 37-40 GHz mmWave bands is supported.


In technical terms, QTM052 mmWave antenna modules support advanced beam forming, beam steering, and beam tracking technologies for improved range and reliability.

Millimeter wave technology is ideal for dense urban areas and crowded indoor environments, but broad 5G coverage requires the sub-6GHz spectrum bands, which is what Qualcomm's new QPM56xx RF module family addresses. This includes the new QPM5650, QPM5651, QDM5650, and QDM5652 modules.

Qualcomm says the first 5G millimeter wave antenna modules are being shipped out to customers this week, and the first crop of devices able to take advantage of 5G networks will be released late this year.


Mobile hotspots are likely to be the first accessories to include Qualcomm's technology, but the company says that we can expect Android smartphones with this 5G millimeter wave antenna during the first half of 2019. 5G devices require 5G networks, which carriers are working on.

T-Mobile is building out its 5G network with plans to roll it out to 30 cities this year, AT&T plans to deploy 5G to customers in a dozen cities in 2018, and Verizon plans to activate fixed 5G services in Sacramento in late 2018, with a mobile 5G service to launch approximately six months later.

As announced at Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm is partnering with more than 20 electronics manufacturers who will use its 5G technology, including Asus, Fujitsu, Nokia, HTC, LG, Oppo, ZTE, Xiaomi, OnePlus, Vivo, and more.

Apple is not a known Qualcomm partner and it is not clear if the two companies will work out their differences given the intense legal battle that is going on between the two. When asked whether Apple would potentially choose this technology for future iPhones, Qualcomm said it was not able to comment on that.

Little is known about Apple's 5G plans at the current time, but November rumors suggested Apple was "leaning heavily" towards using Intel's 5G modems in future iPhones, with Apple engineers already working with Intel on 5G technology.

That report, from Fast Company, suggested at the time that Apple's discussions with Qualcomm have been "limited." Other reports have suggested Apple is considering eliminating Qualcomm chips from future iPhones and iPads, and this year, it looks like Intel will be supplying the majority of chips needed for the 2018 iPhone lineup.

Tags: Qualcomm, 5G

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