The Mac Observer's CES 2019 coverage sponsored by:

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Providers Tout 5G Claims and Names Before the Network Exists

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5G network

5G is the talk of Las Vegas at CES this week. However, there is mounting controversy about what cellular network providers are actually declaring as 5G. The superfast network will not actually be launched until 2020 or even 2021, but the cellular providers are still keen to brand things as 5G now. A piece on the Associated Press noted that “AT&T has drawn ridicule by relabeling the network used by some of its phones as ‘5G E’,” for example. This main seem a relatively superficial issue but in terms of been clear with customers, it matters.

There’s a history of carriers being murky about network claims. AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint started calling an enhanced 3G network 4G in the early 2010s. There’s more pushback this time because people are now more aware of what a next-generation network can do.

AT&T Updates Smartphones With Misleading 5G Icon

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AT&T is so excited for the rollout of 5G that it’s updating smartphones a bit early, with a misleading 5G icon.

AT&T has updated three smartphones from Samsung and LG to make them show 5G connectivity logos, even though none of them are capable of connecting to 5G networks…That “E” in the “5G” logo is supposed to tip you off that this isn’t real 5G — just some marketing nonsense. But there’s no way of knowing that just from looking at the logo.

As it turns out, the government didn’t create or ratify 5G. Neither the FCC nor FTC are regulating what the term means, so technically AT&T is still within the law by doing this. Doesn’t make it right, but it shows how absurd the 5G situation is.

TMO Background Mode Interview with CNET Journalist Shara Tibken

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Shara Tibken on Background Mode

Shara Tibken is a senior reporter/journalist for CNET News, focused on Samsung and Apple. She previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal.

She grew up on a farm in Iowa, where her mother was a teacher, and Shara became an avid book reader. That led to a desire to be a writer, meet people and learn new things. We chatted about her progression from Simpson College to interning for a small newspaper in North Dakota to landing a job with Dow Jones Newswires/WSJ and finally CNET in 2012. We talked about her recent investigation of rural broadband issues in Iowa, which is terrific, as well as future 5G smartphones, Samsung’s development of foldable smartphones, Samsung mimicking Apple and more. Shara gets into interesting technical detail on all these topics.