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Telecom stocks inch higher after AT&T fake 5G icon

The telecom industry has been experiencing positive momentum in the past week as companies have started advertising 5G networks to the public. Despite promoting as marketing tactics, AT&T (T) mislead customers by updating three smartphones from Samsung and LG with fake 5G connectivity icon that showed “5G E” instead of “LTE”.

The customers were tremendously confused with the competition going on among the wireless carriers in launching 4G and 5G networks. The confusion has led the stock to inch higher on Monday. AT&T’s stock opened higher on Tuesday and is trading in the green territory.

In the past five days, shares of AT&T climbed over 9.80% while that of Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) rose over 4%. T-Mobile US (TMUS) stock inched up over 6% in the past five days while Sprint Corporation (S) shares gained over 8%.

After updating the software, the users of the three smartphones, Samsung Galaxy S8 Active, LG V30, and LG V40 had the “5G E” icon appearing in their phones as provided by AT&T while none of them could actually gain access to the new blazing-fast 5G networks.

The users were confused as to what the “E” in the logo denotes while few experts believe it denotes Evolution and the company has initiated the steps in winning the 5G marketing wars. AT&T is not currently selling any smartphone capable of connecting to the emerging 5G network.

25 operators will roll out 5G in 2019: Report

According to Engadget, Verizon issued a response stating, “The potential to over-hype and under-deliver on the 5G promise is a temptation that the wireless industry must resist. 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.”

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T-Mobile mocked its competitor on Twitter. This is not a surprise as carriers have previously rolled out by rebranding 3G HSPA+ technology as 4G. And T-Mobile was the worst offender as it claimed to have the largest 4G network in the country despite not having any.

AT&T intended to add the 5G E logo to more phones this spring and it will be available in 400 markets within the coming days. The company has a total of 17 devices at present for utilizing the “5G E” technologies. Also, the company announced plans to light up 5G at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, becoming the first US carrier to do so.

In 2019, about 25 operators will launch 5G services and 72 are testing the service globally, according to Deloitte’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions report for 2019. The report highlighted that this year about 1 million 5G-enabled devices will be manufactured by 20 handset makers along with around 1 million 5G modems.

Meanwhile, experts expected that the chipmakers could take at least the first half of this year to manufacture 5G smartphone as it requires more complicated chipset. The distribution is predicted to gain momentum only by the second half. Already, chipmakers are showcasing their prototype of the 5G smartphone in events and this is assured that this year changes are constant in the telecom industry.


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