T-Mobile’s network map now allows you to differentiate between slower long-range 5G and faster 5G using mid-range radio spectrum.
Screenshot by Stephen Shankland / CNET
T-Mobile has updated its coverage map so that you can now know what kind of 5G you can get – the kind that is relatively fast, or the one that only covers a large amount of territory. To actualize T-Mobile network coverage map in the USA offers a darker color for faster 5G “ultracapacity” than for 5G “extended range”.
The colors are useful if you’re trying to decide whether to switch to T-Mobile from Verizon, AT&T, or another network, or if you’re trying to figure out why your fancy 5G T-Mobile network looks so intricate.
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You will still have to do a lot of zooming and panning to compare with the AT&T network coverage map other Verizon coverage mapHowever, especially if you are interested in receiving a signal in more than one or two places. I also recommend taking a look at my colleague. Eli Blumenthal’s Helpful Decoding of 5G Marketing Terms.
For T-Mobile, you shouldn’t expect any of the 5G speed hype to apply to areas of the map with long-range 5G coverage. That uses a low-frequency radio spectrum that is best for traveling long distances and penetrating building walls. But T-Mobile got a lot of mid-range spectrum with the Sprint acquisition, and that’s an important way for T-Mo to stand out. The company this week boasted of its Midband “ultracapacity” service now reaches 165 million people in the U.S.
T-Mobile did not immediately respond to a request for comment. PCMag detected the coverage map changes this week.
T-Mobile’s rivals should get more competitive as they roll out a new midband radio spectrum later this year. AT&T and Verizon bought the rights to use it in the Federal Communications Commission auction of C-band radio waves.
Verizon and AT&T have their own terms for differentiating between fast short-range service and slower long-range service.
AT&T calls its relatively slow long-range coverage “5G” and its mid-range and even higher frequency millimeter wave (mmWave) “5G Plus.” Verizon calls its low-end “5G nationwide” and its mid-range and mmWave “ultra-broadband.”
While we’re on the topic of decoding tech terms, don’t confuse Verizon’s ultra-broadband with Ultra-wideband (UWB) standard for precise position tracking.