The 5G UW network is Verizon‘s fastest 5G service and is available to millions of people around the U.S. It is available on all compatible iPhones and Android devices connected to Verizon’s 5G network and can be distinguished by a 5G UW or 5G UWB sign in the status bar. The sign lets users know that they are on Verizon’s super-fast 5G network instead of the slower Nationwide 5G network.
All major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T, started rolling out 5G a few years ago as part of their plans to offer faster cellular connectivity to Americans. Over the past couple of years, 5G deployments have increased by leaps and bounds and now cover the vast majority of the American population. Still, the various types of 5G, such as 5G UC, 5G UW and 5G+, can be confusing, so it’s worth explaining what these acronyms mean and how each carrier uses them to market their services.
The 5G UW icon seen in the smartphone status bars indicates Verizon’s ‘Ultra Wideband’ 5G network, which shows that users are connected to the carrier’s mid-band (C-band) or millimeter wave (mmWave) 5G network. However, given that the availability of mmWave networks is sporadic at best, in most cases, the icon will denote mid-band 5G as this makes up the bulk of the carrier’s faster 5G network. Do note that Verizon’s 5G UW network could also be denoted by ‘5G UWB’ in some devices, but it’s essentially the same 5G Ultra Wideband network. Meanwhile, 5G Nationwide is Verizon’s low-band 5G network that provides more extensive coverage but with relatively slower speeds than 4G LTE. 5G UW-compatible devices include the entire iPhone 13 lineup, iPhone SE (2022), Galaxy S22 Ultra, Pixel 6 Pro, Nokia 8V, TCL 10, Kyocera Durasport, Motorola Edge+, etc.
5G UW, 5G UC And 5G+: Is There A Difference?
C-Band offers the best balance between speed and coverage, making it best suited for large-scale 5G deployment. It was earlier used by the military and has only recently been made available for commercial telecom networks. Alongside Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T also rolled out C-band networks for their customers recently following delays due to flight safety concerns raised by the aviation industry. As for mmWave, it offers the fastest connections but has poor range and penetrability, which means its availability is primarily restricted to a handful of stadiums and airports.
In terms of T-Mobile’s 5G UC, it denotes ‘Ultra Capacity’ and is the carrier’s way of marketing its mid-band and mmWave 5G networks. It is essentially the same as Verizon‘s Ultra Wideband network, as both denote the fastest 5G connections offered by the respective carriers. As for AT&T, it also provides 5G in two flavors — 5G and 5G Plus. It also has a 5G E (5G Evolution) network, but it’s not 5G at all. It is just a 4G network that the carrier brands as 5G, further adding to everyone’s confusion.