Apple isn’t set to launch a 5G iPhone until next year, but that hasn’t stopped it endorsing a misleading network that claims to be 5G but isn’t.
The network in question is AT&T, which last month started rolling out its “5G E” network in the US.
This is slightly faster than standard 4G LTE thanks to some speed boosting tech deployed in certain areas, but it definitely isn’t 5G. 5G E stands for 5G Evolution.
The logo started appearing on Android handsets in the US. Now iPhone users have reported the same.
The icon is appearing on Apple’s newest handsets – the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR – running the iOS 12.2. beta 2, which has only just been released.
Apple even helped AT&T design a new version of the 5G E logo to fit in the iPhone’s menu bar.
AT&T didn’t only pull this trick last month, it did the same when 4G started rolling out. Then it slapped a 4G logo on its iPhones when they were nothing of the sort. Again, Apple was complicit.
In a statement, AT&T said: “Today, some iPhone and iPad users could start seeing our 5G Evolution indicator on their devices.
"The indicator simply helps customers know when they are in an area where the 5G Evolution experience may be available.”
It’s disappointing to see this kind of misleading marketing still in practice, as it will only lead consumers to distrust smartphone makers and mobile networks alike.