When you’ve observed cryptic new icons popping up in your cellphone subsequent to the 5G emblem, you are not alone. Carriers are increasing their 5G networks in an enormous approach this yr, and people little “UW” and “UC” logos you immediately see symbolize the totally different types of 5G you are more likely to encounter within the wild. . Like Pokemon, however extra complicated.

Is not 5G simply… 5G?

No. There are low, mid and high-band types of 5G spectrum. All of them provide totally different ranges of information speeds, and all the foremost US carriers use all three. Naturally, there are totally different names for them as properly. Relying in your service, you might even see abbreviations subsequent to the 5G icon in your cellphone if you hook up with the related community. This is a fast information to the totally different types of 5G within the US and the abbreviations carriers have assigned them.

5G Spectrum Fundamentals

Broadly talking, low-band 5G has wider sign attain, however speeds aren’t a lot sooner than 4G LTE (if in any respect). Hello-band 5G may be very quick – obtain films quick in seconds – however the sign is extraordinarily restricted. Then there’s mid-band 5G, which offers a kind of center floor between the 2: far-reaching indicators and speeds which might be considerably sooner than 4G, although not Great As quick because the hi-band.

Verizon’s quick extremely wideband community is represented by a UW icon.
Screenshot by Nick Stat / The Verge


5G UWVerizon: Verizon refers to each its high-band and mid-band 5G as extremely wideband. Till lately, UW solely referred to high-band networks, also called mmWave. Verizon put a variety of vitality into constructing and selling this community, however even within the restricted areas the place it exists, it may be troublesome to discover a sign. Starting in 2022, Verizon will start to mild new mid-band 5G spectrum in main cities and in addition classify it as extremely wideband. Not complicated in any respect.

When you see the 5G UW icon in your cellphone, it’s seemingly that you’re on a mid-band community. When you’re on mmWave, you may discover an enormous distinction in information pace. But when your information simply appears quick sufficient, no ridiculous Quick, so that you’re most likely on the mid-band.

5G Nationwide: Verizon refers to its low-band 5G as 5G nationwide. You’re linked to this community should you simply see the 5G emblem in your cellphone with out the “UW” subsequent to it. And in case your response if you see the 5G icon pop up is one thing like “Huh, that does not appear sooner than 4G,” then you definitely’re not imagining issues. It’s normally not a lot sooner than LTE. Some Verizon plans, resembling its fundamental 5G Begin Limitless plan, solely embody this low-band model of 5G.

When you see this please ignore this icon.


5G Plus: The “5G+” emblem in your display screen means that you’re on AT&T’s high-band or mid-band spectrum. AT&T has put little effort behind constructing a high-band community outdoors of stadiums and airport terminals, so that you’re unlikely to come across it. As of early 2022, mid-band AT&T spectrum can be scarce because the service is taking a “kill two birds with one stone” strategy to its mid-band enlargement. A 5G emblem and not using a “plus” refers back to the service’s low-band 5G community, which, to be repeatable, is not a lot sooner than LTE.

5G E: A couple of years in the past, earlier than any significant 5G community existed within the US, AT&T obtained inventive and commenced branding a few of its 4G LTE as “5G Evolution”. It is not 5G, and an promoting evaluation board requested the corporate to close it down. The emblem nonetheless seems on the cellphone, however please ignore it; You’re on 4G.

The 5G UC icon means you are most likely on Dash’s, er, T-Cell’s mid-band community.

T Cell

5G UC: T-Cell’s “extremely capability” community technically consists of high-band 5G, however the bulk of the community — and T-Cell’s promoting — is concentrated on the mid-band spectrum coated within the identify. Whereas Verizon and AT&T are getting their mid-band networks up and working, T-Cell obtained a head begin with 2.5GHz mid-band spectrum when it acquired Dash. When you see the “5G UC” emblem in your cellphone, you may guess that the spectrum you are linked to.

prolonged vary: A 5G emblem with out “UC” signifies you are linked to low-band 5G, which T-Cell calls “prolonged vary.” Once more, it is not a lot sooner than LTE, however the protection is extra intensive than mid-band or high-band 5G. When you’ve observed the 5G emblem in your T-Cell phone and are not impressed with the info pace, that is most likely the rationale.

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