If you’re a T-Mobile customer and have updated your iPhone 12 or newer to iOS 15, you may have noticed a new “5G UC” icon on your iPhone status bar. Well, it’s good news! What does this little icon mean?
T-Mobile’s President of Technology, Neville Ray, said customers will see the “5G UC” icon when they’re in areas with fast speeds with “Ultra Capacity 5G.” This means customers are on T-Mobile’s mid-band spectrum at 25GHz, much quicker than its low-band spectrum 5G network and 4G LTE network. Learn more about the difference between the various spectrum bands that make up 5G here.
The “5G UC” news came during Apple’s iPhone 13 event but got lost amid all the other flurries of announcements during the event.
The new network feature is currently available for all iPhone 12 and more recent models, with plans to “come to more devices in the future through a software update,” according to T-Mobile’s support Twitter page.
According to The Verge, there will be different 5G icons for T-Mobile users in the future based on which network you’re connected to. If you’re connected to the low-band network, you’ll see a “5G” icon referring to T-Mobile’s “5G Extended Range” network. Customers can expect speeds closer to legacy LTE speeds but will see more geographical coverage. And if customers see the “5G UC” that means the customer is connected to the mid-band or high-band mmWave network- both of which are faster than the 4G LTE we all know and use today.
The Verge pointed out that T-Mobile is the first carrier to inform its customers which 5G spectrum they’re connected to, “and while yet another 5G brand standard is confusing, it’s not without precedent. Verizon has been differentiating between its low-band 5G (also called “5G”) and its mmWave coverage (“5G UW,” or ultra-wideband) since it started rolling out those networks years ago. AT&T does something similar, too, referring to low-band 5G as “5G,” while its mmWave networks are “5G Plus.”
If you’re a T-Mobile customer, did you notice a change in your network performance? Let us know in the comments!