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

This article, "Sprint Takes Out Full Page NYT Ad Calling Out AT&T for Misleading 5GE Branding" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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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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AT&T Sued by Sprint for Misleading ‘5GE’ Branding

Sprint has filed a lawsuit in federal court against AT&T for its false "5G Evolution" claims that appeared on some iPhones in iOS 12.2 beta 2 earlier this week, and on Android phones in January (via Engadget). AT&T says that this "5GE" label indicates to customers when they are in an area where 5G Evolution "may be available," but it's really just an upgraded version of 4G LTE, because any form of 5G on an iPhone is impossible at this point.


Apple will have to release new hardware to support 5G services, a launch that isn't expected until 2020. Because of this, Sprint has filed an injunction to prevent AT&T from using 5GE tags on its devices or in advertising, claiming that AT&T is damaging the consumer reputation and understanding of true 5G, and potentially hurting Sprint's upcoming launch of 5G in the process.

In the claim, Sprint explains that it commissioned a survey and found that 54 percent of consumers believed that the "5GE" networks were the same as, or even better, than true 5G. Forty-three percent thought that if they purchased an AT&T smartphone today it will be 5G capable, both of which are not true.

Now, Sprint wants to stop AT&T from damaging the 5G brand while it builds a "legitimate early entry into the 5G network space." Like every other network carrier, Sprint has been working on a wide-scale 5G network that has previously been said to launch in late 2019. True 5G networks will grant users faster data speeds and lower latency on compatible smartphones and other cellular devices.

For Apple, the company won't release an iPhone that can connect to 5G data networks until at least 2020. While other companies will begin supporting 5G in smartphones in 2019, Apple is delaying support due to expected issues with early 5G launches, like poor coverage. Apple took the same strategy during the launch of 3G and 4G, the two previous generations of high-speed mobile services.

Tags: Sprint, AT&T, 5GE

This article, "AT&T Sued by Sprint for Misleading '5GE' Branding" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Sprint Launches New ‘Unlimited Plus’ and ‘Unlimited Basic’ Phone Plans

Sprint today announced an update to its lineup of unlimited cellular plans, with four tiers that offer unlimited data, talk, and text, HD streaming, global roaming, and more.

At the top, Unlimited Plus offers unlimited data, talk, and text nationwide with a 15GB LTE mobile hotspot, Hulu (Limited Commercials) and Tidal Premium (not HiFi) subscriptions, 1080p video streaming, and text and data in over 185 worldwide destinations. Under this plan, when roaming in Canada and Mexico you can also get unlimited talk and text and 10GB of 4G LTE data.


Unlimited Plus starts at $70/month for one line, or is available for $22 per month per line for five lines, if you bring your own phone or buy a new phone outright from Sprint. Those that decide to lease a phone will get Unlimited Plus at the regular price of $42 per month per line for five lines.

The next tier is Unlimited Basic, which includes unlimited data, talk, and text nationwide with a 500MB LTE mobile hotspot, a Hulu subscription, 480p video streaming, and text and data in over 185 worldwide destinations. Roaming data in Canada and Mexico is slightly lowered in this plan with 5GB of 4G LTE data.

Unlimited Basic starts at $60/month for one line, or is available for $32 per month per line for five lines.

The last two plans are geared at military and older users, called Unlimited Military and Unlimited 55+:
Sprint salutes veterans, active duty and reserves of the U.S. armed forces with our Unlimited Military plan. Customers on Unlimited Military get 50 percent off family lines – the first line is $60 per month, the second line is an additional $20, and third, fourth and fifth lines are only $10 per month per line.

And, if you’re 55 or older, Sprint offers Unlimited 55+. This is an excellent plan that offers unlimited data, talk and text plus great features for only $35 per month per line for two lines.
When the plans kick off this Friday, July 13, most Sprint stores nationwide will open one hour early and offer a suite of promotions for customers:
- Get a new iPad on us when you activate a new phone line on an Unlimited Plus or Basic plan.
- The first 10 people through the door who activate a new line (new or existing accounts) with Sprint on Basic or Plus will receive a $50 MasterCard® Prepaid card. Good only on July 13.
- Through July 31, activation fees will be waived on lines three through five when customers activate on Unlimited Plus or Basic.
The two main new plans -- Unlimited Plus and Unlimited Basic -- are evolutions of Sprint's previous Unlimited Freedom plan, now split into two so that customers "can get the best choice for them," according to the company.

Earlier in the summer, Verizon updated its plan lineup with a new unlimited plan, and over the years AT&T and T-Mobile have also introduced new unlimited plans, some of which limit the data allotted to customers each month.

Tag: Sprint

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Verizon Named 2018’s Fastest Mobile Network in PCMag’s Annual Carrier Showdown

Verizon Wireless was awarded the title of the fastest nationwide mobile network in PCMag's annual mobile network comparison, the results of which were released this morning.

For its test, PCMag analysts drove within and between 30 cities in the United States to test mobile network speeds using four Samsung Galaxy S8 phones. More than a dozen locations in each city were tested, with the site gathering more than 124,000 data points to reach its conclusion. Scores were calculated taking into account metrics like download speed, upload speed, latency, reliability, and consistency.


Verizon was named the overall fastest network after it won or tied in 19 of the 36 cities that were tested across the United States, marking Verizon's 5th annual victory.

Verizon won out in almost every region (Northeast, North Central, South Central, Northwest, and Southwest), with the exception of the Southeast, where T-Mobile was determined to be the fastest network. T-Mobile was also named the second fastest network overall, followed by AT&T and then Sprint.

PCMag says that compared to its 2017 results, it saw faster, more consistent LTE connections across all four major U.S. carriers in the 2018 test. In the future, we should see some interesting results as mobile networks are upgraded to 5G. AT&T and Verizon are both aiming for higher speeds in smaller areas, while T-Mobile is aiming for nationwide 5G coverage but at slower speeds.

In addition to determining the fastest mobile carrier in 2018, PCMag also took a look at Speedtest Intelligence results pulled from Ookla to determine the fastest download speeds on modern Samsung and Apple devices.


Samsung's flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S9, equipped with Gigabit LTE and 4x4 MIMO, beat out the iPhone X, which does not have 4x4 MIMO. Of Apple's iPhones, though, the iPhone X saw the fastest upload and download speeds thanks to its adoption of 256QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation), which boosts signal to allow for more data to be transferred at one time.


The full results of PCMag's 2018 mobile carrier speed testing can be found over on the PCMag website.


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US DOJ to Consult With MVNOs on T-Mobile/Sprint Merger

As part of its antitrust examination into the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, the US Department of Justice is looking at how the two firms combining would affect smaller wireless carriers that frequently buy network access on larger networks to resell to "pre-paid or price-conscious consumers" according to a report from Reuters.


There are concerns, the report claims, that because Sprint and T-Mobile are more popular for smaller mobile virtual network operator or MVNO carriers looking to resell cellular service to users, a combined firm may result in higher costs for those MVNOs and their customers because of decreased competition.
The Justice Department, which is evaluating T-Mobile’s $26 billion deal to buy Sprint, has been speaking with small wireless operators that buy access to the major wireless networks at wholesale rates, and is seeking their opinions about the merger.
There's no indication yet that this part of the antitrust investigation could cause any issues for the merger, but it does illustrate how complicated these large telecom mergers can be and how many different issues they can affect.

Back in April, Sprint and T-Mobile — the third- and fourth-largest mobile carriers in the US - agreed to combine into a giant carrier with more customers than AT&T. The companies hope to complete the merger by the first half of next year, but have to get approval from antitrust regulators first.


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Sprint and T-Mobile Reach Merger Agreement, Plan for ‘World’s Best’ 5G Network

Sprint and T-Mobile have finally reached a merger agreement, which means if approved by regulators, two of the four major carriers in the United States will combine into one entity in an all-stock deal worth billions.

The new combined company will be named T-Mobile and current T-Mobile CEO John Legere will serve as the Chief Executive Officer. Sprint and T-Mobile say the company will be a "force for positive change" in the U.S. wireless, video, and broadband industries, supercharging T-Mobile's Un-carrier strategy and allowing the new company to "lead in the 5G era."

The New T-Mobile will have the network capacity to rapidly create a nationwide 5G network with the breadth and depth needed to enable U.S. firms and entrepreneurs to continue to lead the world in the coming 5G era, as U.S. companies did in 4G. The new company will be able to light up a broad and deep 5G network faster than either company could separately.

T-Mobile deployed nationwide LTE twice as fast as Verizon and three times faster than AT&T, and the combined company is positioned to do the same in 5G with deep spectrum assets and network capacity.
According to the terms of the deal, T-Mobile plans to exchange 9.75 Sprint shares for each T-Mobile share. Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile's parent company, will own 42 percent of the combined company and SoftBank, Sprint's parent company, will own 27 percent. Deutsche Telekom will have voting rights over 69 percent of the new company and will appoint nine of its 14 directors, while Sprint will appoint four.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that the combined company will "create a fierce competitor" that's able to "deliver more for consumers and businesses in the form of lower prices, more innovation, and a second-to-none network experience," while current Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, who will serve on the board of the new company, said that the merger will make the U.S. a "hotbed for innovation."
"We intend to bring this same competitive disruption as we look to build the world's best 5G network that will make the U.S. a hotbed for innovation and will redefine the way consumers live and work across the U.S., including in rural America. As we do this, we will force our competitors to follow suit, as they always do, which will benefit the entire country. I am confident this combination will spur job creation and ensure opportunities for Sprint employees as part of a larger, stronger combined organization, and I am thrilled that Kansas City will be a second headquarters for the merged company."
Along with the faster rollout of 5G technology, Sprint and T-Mobile say the merger will lead to job creation, lower prices for consumers, improved coverage, and "unprecedented network capacity."

The deal between Sprint and T-Mobile still needs to be approved by antitrust regulators in the United States, but if it goes through, the U.S. will have three major carriers rather four. The combined Sprint and T-Mobile company will have nearly 100 million customers, putting it second only to Verizon.

Sprint and T-Mobile are aiming to close the deal "no later" than first half of 2019. More information about the merger can be found in the press release and in a new "All for 5G" website the two companies have created.


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Sprint and T-Mobile Aiming to Reach Merger Deal Next Week

Earlier this month, reports suggested Sprint and T-Mobile had once again resumed merger talks, and now it appears the two U.S. carriers may be close to inking a deal.

According to Reuters, Sprint and T-Mobile have "made progress" negotiating merger terms and are aiming to complete deal talks as soon as next week.


T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom and Sprint parent company SoftBank are said to be discussing an agreement that would "dictate how they exercise voting control over the combined company."
This could allow Deutsche Telekom to consolidate the combined company on its books, even if it does not have a majority stake in the combined company, one of the sources added. Deutsche Telekom owns more than 63 percent of T-mobile, while SoftBank owns 84.7 percent of Sprint.
Previous merger talks between Sprint and T-Mobile failed after the two companies were unable to reach "mutually agreeable terms." Sprint parent company SoftBank was said to be unsatisfied with the deal because of ownership terms, with SoftBank concerned about losing control of the combined company after Deutsche Telekom requested a controlling stake.

If T-Mobile and Sprint are able to establish a satisfactory deal, the combined company would have more than 100 million customers.

Sources that spoke to Reuters said there is "no certainty" a deal will be reached, given the dissolution of the previous merger talks.


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Sprint and T-Mobile Revisit Merger Talks

Sprint and T-Mobile have once again entered into talks over a potential merger, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The revitalization of the discussion comes just five months after the two companies officially called off plans for a merger following an inability to reach "mutually agreeable terms."


At the time, Sprint parent company SoftBank was not satisfied with the deal because of ownership terms, with SoftBank concerned about losing control of the combined company after T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom requested a controlling stake.

The current discussions are said to be in a preliminary stage, and it's not clear what terms the two companies are considering, nor if the current administration would allow the deal to go through. Talks between the two companies have fallen apart several times before, and the same could be true of this round of discussions.

Should T-Mobile and Sprint be able to establish a satisfactory deal, the combined company would have close to 100 million customers, putting it ahead of AT&T and just behind Verizon.

When the last deal fell through in November of 2017, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said it was best for Sprint to move forward on its own and that the company would be "accelerating significant investments" to ensure its continued growth.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that a deal between T-Mobile and Sprint would need to "result in superior long-term value for T-Mobile's shareholders," and that T-Mobile would continue to disrupt the industry.


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AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Detail Plans for ‘Next-Generation Mobile Authentication Platform’

Last September, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile announced a team-up with the mission of developing a mobile authentication solution for both businesses and consumers. One of the main reasons the carriers created the "Mobile Authentication Taskforce" was to help users who have to manage "dozens of difficult-to-remember passwords" for numerous apps.

Today at Mobile World Congress, the taskforce has revealed more details about its upcoming platform, and set a launch date for later in 2018. AT&T said the solution will create a cryptographically verified phone number and "unique profile" that's specific to the user's smartphone or tablet, strengthened by processing attributes such as a network verified mobile number, IP address, SIM card attributes, phone number tenure, phone account type, and more. The solution will only work with apps authorized by the taskforce, and at the consent of the user.


The companies' combined resources will further analyze data and activity patterns on a mobile network to predict, "with a high degree of certainty," whether the user is who they say they are.
Formed last year to develop a mobile authentication solution to help protect enterprises and consumers from identity theft, bank fraud, fraudulent purchases and data theft, the Mobile Authentication Taskforce has dedicated resources developing a highly secure and trusted multi-factor authentication platform powered by the carrier networks. The taskforce vision includes interoperability with GSMA's Mobile Connect technology.
To confirm a user's identity and allow them entry into their own secure data, the solution will also use machine learning, advanced analytics, and run a risk assessment engine with AI to confirm that all of this data matches -- or doesn't match -- the main user's identity. VentureBeat reported that the Mobile Authentication Taskforce's platform is expected to be "simpler and more secure" than current heavy-duty password and data protection solutions, like two-factor authentication.

According to the GSM Association, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, the solution will not only provide mobile device owners with an easier way to manage passwords, but also help to "decrease fraud and identity theft, and increase trust in online transactions." With the four largest U.S. network carriers working together, AT&T said that the taskforce will bring "significant capabilities and insights" to build a modern security and identity protection system.
“As mobile becomes the remote control for day-to-day life, mobile identity is key to making things simpler and more secure for consumers,” said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA. “The GSMA has been working with operators around the world to bring a consistent and interoperable, secure identity service and this taskforce will strengthen that effort by enabling a simple user experience quickly and conveniently in the US market.”
Ahead of the launch, registered developers will be able to submit to the taskforce and begin ensuring that their applications will be compatible with the new mobile authentication platform. This submission process itself will be highly secure as well, using "private and permissioned blockchain technology to help ensure application integrity."

Developers and other service providers will be able to sign up to participate as an application developer when the taskforce's website launches "later this year," and in the next few weeks internal trials of the system will begin.


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