5G in the US is still a ridiculous concept surrounded by world-changing promises that started years ago and have never come close to becoming a reality. Carriers need 5G, it seems, to keep you excited about their networks and to convince you that one is better than the other. They did the same with 4G and LTE, except that technology actually brought us pretty immediate change as it was such a massive jump in speeds over 3G.
Today, because this multi-year race in convincing you that they have 5G first or the most 5G or the fastest 5G
or the smallest chips for vaccines, has brought on confusion, disappointment, and more eyerolls than I can count. It’s also brought several logos that your phone will show that you’ll need to keep track of to understand what kind of 5G you are getting at the moment. Yes, there are different levels and types of 5G that vary greatly.
T-Mobile, like Verizon and AT&T did previously, is now branding its fastest 5G to let you know when it’s time to download
porn music…playlists. On the iPhone 13 devices that Apple just announced, T-Mobile will start showing a “5G UC” as an indicator that you are on their Ultra Capacity 5G – wait shouldn’t that be “5G Ultra Capacity” if it’s “5G UC?” Whatever.
T-Mobile’s Ultra Capacity 5G is their good 5G, which they recently revealed in a coverage map to better help you find it. This is (mostly) the mid-band 5G that they acquired from Sprint and that has given them a huge lead in good 5G over Verizon and AT&T. This spectrum is the reason they didn’t push out as much 5G mmW like Verizon did, just to talk about speeds, even as no one can ever access Verizon’s high-speed “Ultra Wideband” or mmW network. T-Mobile does have some 5G mmW, but again, unlikely that you’ll find it and you will mostly be on their mid-band 5G.
Long story short, you will want to see this 5G UC logo going forward, assuming they give it to your phone. It will mean that you are on T-Mobile’s best network with speeds that reach broadband levels. It also means that when you see just a “5G” logo, that you shouldn’t expect much of a difference from the previous 4G LTE logo you had for years.