AT&T was in the news recently for its latest announcement about 5G Evolution, which has become popular as a fake 5G network. Recently, the mobile services provider announced plans to release its 5G Evolution network in about 20 cities by the end of 2017.

AT&T Fake 5G Network, 5G Evolution
By AT&T [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Why is AT&T’s 5G Evolution fake?

AT&T’s 5G evolution is not a new 5G network, but apparently, it’s a much better successor to 4G that is supposed to change the way people connect to the Internet. 5G Evolution is actually just a re-branded 4G offering and a desperate attempt from the mobile services provider to look innovative, notes Gizmodo.

The new network is limited to people who have a Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus. Such smartphone users can get speeds that leave LTE speeds in the dust, the company claims. The U.S.-based carrier vows that users can expect downloads that are about twice as fast as average 4G LTE connections.

It must be noted that this service is not new, and rivals have been using it for months. It can be seen as a marketing ploy from the company to confuse customers into believing it to be something innovative. AT&T used a similar gimmick at the time of 3G also, branding 3G’s enhanced HSPA+ speeds as “4G,” notes The Verge. Nevertheless, people who get this fake 5G network will at least get the right to brag about their network, as no one can call 5G Evolution “the dawn of the 5G era,” notes news site Engadget.

AT&T lacks the required 5G tech

5G networks rely on completely different types of tech — use of millimeter wave (mmWave) band transmission — than 4G LTE or 4G, which use new types of antennas and entirely different bands of frequency. The tech that AT&T uses does not support 5G, notes The Verge. In fact, standard organizations such as the 3GPP and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) have not yet released standards for 5G.

It seems strange that AT&T announced this limited roll-out of 5G Evolution only a few hours before news reports disclosed that Verizon had outbid it on a large chunk of 5G spectrum. We still are not certain if the two announcements are related. There is a chance that they are not because the Dallas-based company first announced the fake 5G network in January, notes Gizmodo.

5G Evolution will cover only 20 areas, which include San Francisco, Nashville, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Austin and Los Angeles. The fake 5G network is due for its next roll-out in Indianapolis over the summer. The network is already rolling out in some parts of Austin and Texas. As for hardware, we could see several more devices that take advantage of the new network this year.