The roll out of 5G support is without question a game-changing development that will fundamentally impact the way we use our smartphones. The bad news, though, is that it's going to take some time before broad 5G support actually becomes a reality. Indeed, this is why Apple will reportedly wait until 2020 before introducing iPhones with support for 5G.
In the interim, AT&T has adopted an interesting, if not controversial and downright misleading tactic. As you may recall, word surfaced a few weeks back
that AT&T will begin replacing the LTE indicator on select smartphone models with a 5G E symbol. The symbol will only appear in markets that happen to support AT&T's fastest LTE technologies.
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The following statement from an AT&T spokesperson last month suggested that this might only be the case on Android devices:
If they have one of the latest Android devices and it connects to a tower that's enabled with 5G Evolution, they'll soon see a '5G E' indicator pop up on their screen. Initially we'll roll this out on a handful of devices, with more devices showing the indicator in spring 2019.
As it turns out, iPhone owners might soon be glaring at a 5G E symbol themselves. As pointed out by MacRumors
, some iPhone owners who installed the second iOS 12.2 beta have noticed that the 4G symbol has transformed into 5G E, as evidenced by the photo below.
Incidentally, the E in 5G E stands for 'Evolution' and, per AT&T, supports 'peak theoretical wireless speeds for capable devices of at least 400 megabits per second.' That's a nice speed bump, but there's no getting around the fact that the 5G E symbol above is purposefully misleading. AT&T has been widely criticized for its little 5G E tactic, but there's no indication that the company cares or is even the least bit interested in reversing course.