WHAT IS 5G?
Fifth generation (5G) mobile phone networks Are not all the same and not just because providers roll them out differently but because 5G is actually a grouping of different 5th generation standards.
At first you might think that this is a bad thing because it means 5G was not created equal and that makes it very difficult (nearly impossible?) to compare between mobile service providers like AT&T, Bell, T-Mobile, Telus, or Verizon.
IS ALL 5G THE SAME?
However when you look at what 5G sub-technologies were built for I think you’ll agree that they are a very good thing. Some 5G networks are built for the cities which means they have a much shorter range to connect between you and a cellular tower but they will go through buildings and glass and walls. Other 5G network are built for rural areas which will provide slower service, but still next generation level service, to a much larger geographic area off a single tower.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT 5G SPEEDS?
In 2020 we developed these graphics to visually explain the differences between 5G standards:
CLICK TO EXPAND GRAPHICS
WHAT IS 5G UC?
However mobile phone companies like T-mobile certainly like to differentiate themselves by either changing the standard or inventing new terminology for existing standards to make themselves look better.
In 2021 T-Mobile started providing Ultra Capacity 5G (aka 5G UC). If you see 5GUC in the top right corner of your mobile phone, it simply means that you are connected on either mid-band or millimeter wave 5G. And yes, that means you are connected on what we called 5G – HIGH BAND and 5G MED BAD in the gaphics above.
To stay competitive Verizon did the same thing but they called theirs 5G UW which is 5th generation ultrawide.
If you use T-Mobile and you don’t see the UC or on Verizon and don’t see UW, that means that you are most likely in a rural location and connected to a 5G Low Band Network.
IS 5G UC BETTER THAN 5G?
So if you followed along with our little story, you can see that 5G UC and UW are actually no better than just 5G but it does tell you that you are connected at the higher speeds and we can infer that you’re most likely in an urban area.