T-Mobile is rolling out a new ‘5G UC’ icon for iPhones to tell when you have real 5G

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5G branding to get even more confusing, soon: T-Mobile has announced That it will roll out a new “5G UC” icon on the upcoming iPhone 13 lineup to let customers know they’re connected to T-Mobile’s “5G Ultra Capacity” network instead of the regular old 5G network.

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The difference here is one of bands and brands: On T-Mobile, an unmarked “5G” icon will soon refer to the company’s low-band network, which it calls “5G Extended Range.” As the name suggests, it is a slow network (closer to legacy LTE speeds) but it reaches a wider area. From a spectrum perspective, it exists in roughly the same areas as LTE, but uses 5G techniques and techniques for better speeds.

However, the “5G UC” icon will mean that you’re connected to either T-Mobile’s mid-band network (which it inherited from Sprint as part of a major merger between the two companies) or its high-end network. -band mmWave networks (branded as “5G Ultra Capacity”) – both offer dramatically faster speeds. As pc magazineAnnual 5G Speed ​​Test of This year has shown, that mid-band coverage in particular (hitting the sweet spot of speed increases and range) has been a big contributor to T-Mobile’s vastly improved network offerings.

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And while another 5G brand standard is confusing, it’s not without precedent. Verizon has been distinguishing between its low-band 5G (also called “5G”) and its mmWave coverage (“5G UW,” or ultra-wideband) since it began rolling out those networks years ago. . AT&T does something similar, referring to low-band 5G as “5G”, while its mmWave network is “5G Plus”.

AT&T also has the unfortunate tendency of mislabeling its LTE network as “5G E,” which, unlike the other flavors of 5G on this list, isn’t actually 5G.

But T-Mobile’s transformation is arguably a necessary one: The flurry of selling customers on 5G and slapping next-generation networking branding everywhere means the low-band network most people currently perceive as “5G”. are actually quite similar – practically speaking – to LTE. But now that carriers are actually making big improvements that bring meaningful speeds and increased latency, they’re caught in a problem of their own making: Regular “5G” is too thin a brand to make an impact. , so more Bombastic Ultrasound and pluses are being added to icons and logos.

The new 5G UC icon should start rolling out soon after the release of the iPhone 13 model, as well Last year’s iPhone 12 lineup.

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