Every major carrier is in a race to be the first to deploy 5G to the masses, and that's a task that requires a lot of time, work, sweat, and tears. We're still a ways off before 5G is readily available from U.S. carriers, but that hasn't stopped AT&T from slapping a "5G E" logo on the status bar on some of its Android phones.

That "5G E" icon appears on AT&T's "latest Android devices" whenever they're connected to AT&T's upgraded 4G LTE network, and while the speeds are faster than regular LTE, it's clearly not 5G despite what the status bar now says.

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During CES 2019, both Verizon and T-Mobile responded to AT&T's actions in very different ways.

Starting first with Verizon, the carrier issued a press release on January 7 titled, "When we say '5G', we mean 5G." While Verizon never specifically calls out AT&T by name, it's pretty obvious that the whole release is in response to the company. Here's what the second paragraph says:

The potential for 5G is awesome, but the potential to over-hype and under-deliver on the 5G promise is a temptation that the wireless industry must resist. If network providers, equipment manufacturers, handset makers, app developers and others in the wireless ecosystem engage in behavior designed to purposefully confuse consumers, public officials and the investment community about what 5G really is, we risk alienating the very people we want most to join in developing and harnessing this exciting new technology.

As for T-Mobile, the Un-Carrier went with a more tongue-in-cheek approach:

While not quite as professional or eloquent, it's pretty damn funny and gets the same message across — telling customers they have 5G when they really don't isn't good. It's nothing but marketing hype and only hurts the real weight 5G actually carries.

Good on you, Verizon and T-Mobile.

AT&T takes another step to confuse customers about what is and isn't 5G