Are you using a modern iPhone or Android phone on T-Mobile’s cellular network, then you might’ve spotted the “5G UC” icon on the status bar instead of “5G.” Now, what is this 5g UC? This article will tell you about your cellular connection.
5G UC Stands for “5G Ultra Capacity”
This icon indicates you are connected to a type of 5G network you will only see it on iPhones or Android phones that support 5G. As of this writing, only iPhone 12, 13, and 14 phones have 5G support.
Specifically, the 5G UC icon is displayed when you are connected to T-Mobile’s “Ultra Capacity” 5G network. The icon began appearing on iPhones in mid-September 2021, this has now begun appearing on some Android phones, as well.
What Is 5G Ultra Capacity?
5G is more complicated than you thought, and different types of 5G offer different speeds.
T-Mobile divides its 5G network into two different types of 5G, based on their speeds. “5G Extended Range” is a type of 5G that will be roughly as fast as 4G LTE, this 5G blankets most of the country, including many less-built rural areas. “5G Ultra Capacity” is the faster 5G that provides greater-than-4G LTE speeds.
It’s easy to distinguish between the two, you will see a 5G UC icon when you are connected to T-Mobile’s faster 5G network. When you are connected to T-Mobile’s comparatively slower “Extended Range” 5G network, you will just spot a standard 5G icon.
To put it technically, 5G UC indicates that you are connected to either mid-band or millimeter wave (mmWave) 5G. If you are using T-Mobile, you are likely connected to mid-band 5G, as this makes up the bulk of T-Mobile’s Ultra Capacity 5G network. The standard “5G” logo that’s not accompanied by a UC indicates you are using low-band 5G.
If you wish you can take a look at where T-Mobile’s 5G UC network is available on T-Mobile’s Coverage Map website. This map distinguishes between the two types of 5G, the UC network is indicated by dark magenta.
What About Other Cellular Carriers and Android Phones?
As of this writing, the 5G UC logo only ever appeared on iPhones and a few Android phones connected to T-Mobile’s network.
If you are using an iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 (or an iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro), you will not be able to spot the 5G UC logo if you happen to be using another cellular carrier for example AT&T or Verizon.
What is meant by “5G+,” “5G UW,” and “5G E”?
These are not the first letters that have been spotted alongside the 5G logo. “5G+ as well as “5G UW” are similar to “5G UC” these are used to indicate faster 5G than the standard low-band networks that have long ranges.
You will spot the “5G+” status icon when your iPhone is connected to AT&T’s 5G millimeter wave network.
You will spot the “5G UW” status icon when your iPhone is connected to Verizon’s Ultra-Wideband 5G network.
There is also 5G E, a marketing term AT&T applied to the older 4G LTE network, the 5G E was not real 5G. AT&T was sued by Sprint over this practice back in 2019, accusing the company of misleading customers.
5G UC, 5G+, as well as 5G UW all indicate better and faster 5G signals. This is not like spotting the 5G E, which was worse than seeing a 5G icon and not 5G at all.
Are these Logos appearing Outside the USA?
Apple’s official support website discusses terms like 5G UC, 5G+, as well as 5G UW without respect to specific carriers. So, you might also be able to see these logos on other cellular carriers outside the USA. However, if you are just seeing a 5G logo, that does not indicate you are necessarily using slower low-band 5G, it can be that your cellular carrier may just not be displaying logos like that.
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