After harsh scrutiny from competitors and marketing entities, a lawsuit that was settled out of court, and an appeal, AT&T will finally drop “5G Evolution” from its ads.
The National Advertising Review Board, a board of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) used to review advertisements within various industries, has ruled that AT&T’s use of “5G Evolution” was misleading to customers. AT&T began using the term “5G Evolution, The First Step to 5G” in its marketing in 2017 as it rolled out its upgraded 4G LTE network and has even included “5G E” to display on its phones. The National Advertising Division (NAD) has also criticized AT&T in the past claiming that the world “Evolution” would not signal enough differentiation for consumers
AT&T has defended its position on the matter by pointing out that the new network would provide an enhanced experience for subscribers and has added more of the spectrum on its network. A spokesperson from AT&T stated, “AT&T respectfully disagrees with the reasoning and result reached by the Panel majority. AT&T’s customers nationwide continue to benefit from dramatically superior speeds and performance that its current network provides.”
Consumers should expect changes soon, though AT&T’s website still currently states the term, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has stated that changes could take a week or two. AT&T has already removed “5G Evolution” on its television ads; however, AT&T will still need to remove the language from several areas due to the ruling which includes its website, product labels, in-store marketing, television, and any other media which expresses paid advertisement. Some ads may take a month due to scheduling but this is to be expected. Failure to comply in good faith would more than likely see the BBB reach out to the Federal Trade Commission and potentially, state attorneys general. Notably, the icon on its phones is considered part of the device and the ruling does not affect “5G E” from being displayed on a subscriber’s device.
Peers and consumers alike have been skeptical and critical of AT&T since it unleashed its marketing campaign. Verizon CTO Kyle Malady went as far as to write an open letter that expressed concern stating that 5G should be considered 5G “only if new device hardware is connecting to the network using new radio technology.”
Time will tell how this will affect AT&T going forward and how quickly it will be for “5G Evolution” to be completely eradicated from its marketing. Still, this is a step forward for clarity in marketing practices and should help consumers better understand what they are signing up for and purchasing for their wireless needs. Stay tuned for more updates on all things 5G related here at 5G Insider.
Source: Fierce Wireless