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Image credit: AT&T

AT&T's Android phones now lie about having 5G

It's still 4G.
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Like it or not, AT&T's not-really-5G icon is reaching phones. The carrier has started rolling out the indicator to Android handsets, including Samsung's Galaxy S8 Active and LG's V30. Install the update and you'll see a "5G E" (5G Evolution) indicator where you used to see "LTE." More eligible devices will see the new cellular icon in the spring, so don't think you'll escape it if you have a reasonably modern device.

As before, AT&T isn't really upgrading anyone to a 5G service. This is still 4G LTE, just with a mix of technologies (4x4 MIMO antennas, 256 QAM and carrier aggregation) that potentially supply faster-than-usual speeds. It's rehashing the strategy it used when it labeled HSPA+ as 4G -- this is more about marketing the network than providing useful information. We wouldn't rule out other carriers jumping on the pseudo-5G bandwagon as they ramp up their real 5G networks, but that won't make it any less confusing.

Verizon owns Engadget's parent company, Verizon Media. Rest assured, Verizon has no control over our coverage. Engadget remains editorially independent.

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