You’re About to See a New 5G Icon On Your T-Mobile iPhone

You’re About to See a New 5G Icon On Your T-Mobile iPhone
Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo

T-Mobile is adding a new indicator to the iPhone 13 to tell you whether you’re getting ultra-fast 5G speeds or just regular 5G speeds. Now a new 5G UC icon will pop up in the top right corner when T-Mobile customers are getting the carrier’s fastest 5G service.

The UC in 5G UC stands for Ultra Capacity. Verizon has its 5G UWB indicator (for 5G ultrawideband), and AT&T uses 5G+ to let users know when they’re tapped into mmWave spectrum, which is the fastest flavour of 5G. AT&T also has a regular 5G indicator and, of course, a 5G E icon. That last one is actually LTE and not 5G at all. Confused yet?

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups will be the first smartphones to start using the new 5G UC icon, but T-Mobile says it’ll show up on more devices in the future.

Currently, T-Mobile’s 5G coverage is split across a number of different bands that offer various combinations of coverage area and speed. The carrier’s slower-speed sub-6Ghz 5G spectrum is used to help increase the overall range of its network, while the company uses mid-band and mmWave spectrum to deliver significantly faster speeds. T-Mobile is set to flip the switch on $US9.3 ($13) billion worth of C-band spectrum that it purchased back in January, which means T-Mobile users should get even wider and faster 5G performance.

Though it seems confusing to have so many different ways to denote what type of 5G network you’re connected to, at least T-Mobile isn’t muddying the waters the way AT&T has.

Also of interest to iPhone 13 buyers, T-Mobile also announced that it will offer in-store same-day repairs  for damaged phones at more than 500 of the company’s retail locations starting November 1.

It’s important to note that in order to take advantage of T-Mobile’s repair service, customers will need to pay for T-Mobile’s $US7 ($10)/month Protection plan, which can be purchased at the time of repair or after buying or leasing a new qualified device from T-Mobile.

In addition to access to in-store repairs, T-Mobile’s Protection plan includes perks like unlimited screen protector replacements, live tech support via the Protection app (available on both Android and iOS), AppleCare for eligible Apple devices, and even replacements in the case of theft, loss, or accidental damage.