Sprint (S) has filed a lawsuit against AT&T (T) for allegedly misleading customers into believing that it offers a 5G wireless network.
Through the suit, Sprint aims to stop AT&T from using designations and terms related to 5G such as 5GE, 5G-E, or 5G Evolution. Sprint is also looking for the court to determine if damages should be paid out in the lawsuit.
"The reality is that this network isn't 'new' and '5G E' is a false and misleading term," a spokesperson for Sprint said in a statement to CNBC. "AT&T is just like Sprint and all the other major wireless carriers currently operating a nationwide 4G LTE network."
Court documents from the lawsuit explain Sprint's complaint by saying, "the false claim that it is offering a 5G wireless network where it offers only a 4G LTE Advanced network, AT&T is attempting to secure an unfair advantage in the saturated wireless market."
AT&T feels differently as it is using 5G in its marketing campaigns to show select customers where the technology will be available when it finally comes to market, CNBC reported.
"We feel very comfortable with how we've characterized the new service that we're launching," AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Friday. "We've obviously done our homework. We've done a lot of work around how we characterize this and we're being very clear with our customers that this is an evolutionary step."
The lawsuit from Sprint comes after AT&T was roasted for an attempt that made it look like it already offered the fifth-generation wireless technology on its phones, USA Today reported.
"I fully understand why our competitors might be upset with this," Stephenson said. "It's not a play everybody can run. It's a play that we really like, and it's a play that's going to differentiate us in the marketplace as we begin to roll this out over the course of this year."
Verizon also weighed in on AT&T's 5G marketing efforts. Company spokesperson Jeffery Nelson tweeted, "5Ge. It's pretend, it's fake, it's the kind of BS that gives marketers, communicators businesses and the wireless industry a black eye."
Sprint may be confident in its complaint, but AT&T has fired back by saying, "We will fight this lawsuit while continuing to deploy 5G Evolution in addition to standards-based mobile 5G. Customers want and deserve to know when they are getting better speeds," a spokesperson for AT&T told CNBC.
"Sprint will have to reconcile its arguments to the FCC that it cannot deploy a widespread 5G network without T-Mobile while simultaneously claiming in this suit to be launching 'legitimate 5G technology imminently.'"
Sprint is currently in the process of seeking approval to merge with T-Mobile to create one wireless carrier, taking one of the four major players out of the market.
Shares of Sprint were down 0.76 percent while shares of AT&T were down 0.58 percent as of 1:20 p.m. EST on Friday.
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