As the latest and currently fastest cellular networking standard 5G becomes more accessible around the world some mobile providers show a variety of different icons on devices depending on which type of 5G cellular network, we connected you to. These various icons show the speed you can expect when connected from your phone or tablet with some cellular networks displaying an icon for 5G UC. But what is 5G UC and what does it mean?
What is 5G UC?
5G UC is a term used by some mobile providers and is short for Ultra Capacity referring to the fastest networks currently available using 5G connectivity. T-Mobile uses 5G UC but Version has a slightly different naming policy and calls the same connection speeds 5G UW and AT&T refer to the same bands as 5G Plus all of which provide similar connection speeds.
Cellular network providers
Unfortunately, not all 5G connections are as fast as one another and 5G UC networks will provide faster speeds than a standard 5G connection. For example, the 5G cellular network is available across several different bands including mmWave together with low and mid band connections. For instance, T-Mobile in the US offers two different 5G connections and shows these on your handset or tablet using the abbreviations 5G XR for Extended Range and 5G UC for Ultra Capacity. The Extended Range is the lowest 5G connection and uses many of the same frequencies as 4G LTE providing similar speeds in comparison. To confuse things even more AT&T also refers to its LTE networks as 5G E.
If your handset shows the 5G UC icon, you can rest assured that your handset is connected to the fastest 5G cellular network and if you’re using a T Mobile connection, this means that you are connected to the companies mmWave and mid-band which faster than its Extended Range connections. 5G Ultra Capacity connections operate at much higher frequencies than older generation connections providing you with approximately 1 Gbps even in congested areas such as football stadiums or in the center of large cities for instance.
Unfortunately, because of the increased speeds and capacities available when connecting to 5G UC the technology requires more investment by cellular providers and is normally only found in major cities. If you are interested in learning more about whether 5G Ultra Capacity is available in your area check out your providers coverage map.
The 5G UC icon has been appearing on phones since September 2021 and is now prevalent across both the latest Android and iOS devices especially if you are using the latest iPhone 12 for higher.
In summary, you are more likely to see a 5G UC, 5G UW, 5G Plus connection displayed on your phone when in large cities or built-up areas and it shows that you are using the higher and faster 5G network connections. If you see 5G XR your currently using the lower end of the 5G spectrum which provides speeds roughly equivalent to the older 4G LTE connections.
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