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AT&T Rolls Out '5G Evolution' Service; Competitors, Tech Industry Roll Their Eyes

(KPIX 5) -- AT&T continues to rollout its "5G Evolution" technology, now in more than 200 markets across the country, including parts of San Jose, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Vallejo, Fairfield and Napa.

However, the rollout has been met with some derision in the industry.

Also known as "5G E", the new icon has been showing up on more phones in recent weeks all across the Bay Area.

AT&T calls 5G E the "first step on the road to 5G," and the company claims speeds up to twice as fast on capable devices, using so-called "carrier aggregation," according to the company's description.

"5G Evolution can deliver theoretical peak speeds for capable devices of up to 400 megabits per second versus about 1 Gbps for 5G. 5G Evolution lays the foundation for us to deliver 5G," the company said in a statement.

AT&T's competitors are not the only ones poking holes in that statement.

"When AT&T announced 5G E, there was a loud groan from the entire tech industry, and all of the tech press," said Ian Sherr, CNet Editor-At-Large.

Verizon and T-Mobile quickly lashed out against AT&T's announcement, calling it "Fake 5G.".

Sprint filed a lawsuit accusing AT&T of false advertising, and claimed AT&T's logo was "blatantly misleading." The two companies have since settled the case.

"This is marketing, this is how the carriers try to one-up each other. And it's come down to this, where AT&T is willing to slap a name on something that a lot of people might argue isn't really what it is," said Sherr.

There are no phones in the US market today that can obtain 5G speeds over the network. The first phone with such capability will be the Samsung S10 5G, due to be released later this year.

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