Feb 11, 2019

Sprint sues AT&T over its "5G E" marketing

No, the 4G phones haven't suddenly willed themselves into 5G devices. Rather, AT&T has decided to start marketing its current LTE Advanced network as "5G E" because it says it's part of the evolution to 5G.

Driving the news: What had been industrywide grumbling turned into a lawsuit Friday as Sprint sued AT&T over this branding. Sprint also wants an injunction to get AT&T to stop using the term to apply to anything that isn't real 5G.

Why it matters: Real 5G networks will start showing up this year, including on AT&T's network, in select cities. But true 5G only works with new phones designed for it and in the small number of cities whose networks are updated.

  • AT&T's faux 5G, meanwhile, works with a number of existing phones and in a broader range of cities.

Our thought bubble: This type of marketing is bound to cause confusion. It's hard to see how anyone benefits other than AT&T, and perhaps Apple, which almost certainly won't have a real 5G iPhone this year.

Flashback: A similar thing happened during the advent of 4G, with AT&T and T-Mobile labeling a faster version of 3G networks as 4G.

Go deeper: When 5G will arrive

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Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 75,465 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 hours ago - Health

SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.