If you’ve been keeping up to date with our news posts, then you may have seen us previously report on American carrier AT&T’s attempt to pass off their network as being 5G-capable. But the reality is that there are no truly 5G networks operating at present, and there are unlikely to be any — especially within the UK — until around 2020. Still, that hasn’t stopped some carriers from trying to entice customers with the promise of faster speeds. And now software and hardware giant Apple have officially endorsed AT&T’s ‘5G’ network.

Apple endorses supposed ‘5G’ network

Apple are in the middle of a beta testing phase for their newest iOS (operating system) update, 12.2, which contains a controversial software update. This change displays a ‘5G E’ icon in place of the usual 3G or 4G indicator, providing the user meets certain criteria. Though a relatively small change, numerous sources are pointing out how the update is misleading for customers who may expect that they’ve been upgraded to a full 5G network, with an expectation of similar advancements in speed that were seen between 3G and 4G.

Back in 2012, Apple agreed to push an update to AT&T-specific handsets, which displayed a ‘4G’ indicator on specific models of iPhone that were running on the AT&T network. This was despite the fact that there weren’t marked differences in performance or data transfer speeds over the 3G network. For other providers that didn’t have the same agreement, such as Verizon in the USA, this put AT&T at a significant advantage from a device marketing point of view. At the time, Apple simply said, “With iOS 5.1, iPhone 4S will now see this reflected in the status bar.”

… and it’s not the first time

In 2012, the ‘4G update’ was met with a great deal of positive comments on Twitter, and a similar effect has been seen on the social media platform this time around. Many users on Twitter are now claiming that the 5G icon has appeared on their iOS 12.2 beta 2-enabled iPhones. It won’t be seen by everyone, given that it is only applicable in cities where AT&T’s ‘5G Evolution’ signal is available, plus you have to be using one of the newest X-range of iPhones. It’s also worth mentioning that as AT&T are an American network carrier, none of our UK readers should expect to see the indicator.
As was the case 7 years ago, Apple hasn’t made any software changes to iOS 12.2 that will result in next-generation data connections, so don’t expect them to being flying faster than ever before. They’re the same as they were previously, with the exception of a fancy new symbol in the status bar. But if you have any questions about 5G and the differences between different kinds of data connections, then you can always get in touch with WiseGuys on 0808 123 2820 to discuss your phone with us.