AT&T’s Misleading '5GE' Logo Just Hit the iPhone

Hey, AT&T customers: Don't think you've got 5G cellular service just because of that that 5GE logo on the top of your phones.

Credit: MacRumors

(Image credit: MacRumors)

Yesterday (Feb. 4), Twitter user @kylemccown posted the below, showing that Apple's even allowing a custom 5GE logo in the iPhone. His sliver of a screenshot comes from a device running the 2nd beta of iOS 12.2.

According to The Verge, the 5GE logo will show up on the iPhone XS, XS Max and iPhone XR.

5GE stands for 5G Evolution, which is AT&T's branding for its advanced LTE technologies, such as 4X4 MIMO. Nobody would blame customers for being confused, though, because the E is in a smaller font, and spaced slightly apart from the 5G. 

MORE: Real 5G Phones: Every Known Phone and Release Date

What should AT&T customers expect from their 5G Evolution connections? Nothing fantastic, actually. According to The Verge, AT&T says 5G Evolution connections will reach "average real-world speeds of around 40Mbps," — which isn't as fast as the 53.3Mbps rates that Verizon's 4G LTE networks hit in our Fastest Wireless Network testing.

Other iOS 12.2 Beta Features

There are some positive things about the iOS 12.2 beta. For example, there are new Animoji options, such as an owl, shark, warthog and giraffe.

Control Center has also been tweaked, as reported by Apple Insider. The arced icon on the Music Widget in the top right corner has been replaced by a responsive icon that changes depending on where content is being played.

On the lockscreen, the date has now been replaced by the battery capacity, which has spurred some complaints on Twitter and elsewhere.

Other Carriers Respond to 5GE

As you might expect, the competition is ripping on this marketing practice. On Twitter, T-Mobile posted a video where it applied a 9G sticker to an iPhone, and captioned the clip, "didn’t realize it was this easy, brb updating."

Verizon's Chief Technology Officer Kyle Malady wrote a blog post entitled "When we say '5G,' we mean 5G." But, as if Verizon were Coke and AT&T were Pepsi, Malady didn't even include AT&T's name in the article. In his screed, Malady issued a challenge: "That’s why we’re calling on the broad wireless industry to commit to labeling something 5G only if new device hardware is connecting to the network using new radio technology to deliver new capabilities."

The Verizon exec even promised that his company wouldn't make the same mistake: "Verizon is making this commitment today: We won’t take an old phone and just change the software to turn the 4 in the status bar into a 5. We will not call our 4G network a 5G network if customers don’t experience a performance or capability upgrade that only 5G can deliver."

We first heard reports of this fake 5G logo hitting phones last month, so it may surprise some that AT&T went through with this plan despite the initial backlash.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.