With 5G networks and phones ending up being more common day by day, Google has revealed how it’ll display 5G network icons on your phones with Android 11.
Google’s updated icons will help users tell the difference between sub-6GHz 5G, mmWave 5G, and LTE Advanced Pro networks. The new iconography will be as follows.
- LTE with carrier aggregation (LTE+)
- Advanced pro LTE (5Ge)
- sub-6GHz (5G)
- mmWave (5G+)
These 5G categorizations may seem like a jumbled mess today, however, let’s try to put things into perspective.
Sub-6GHz 5G networks such as those of AT&T and T-Mobile have wider coverage than say Verizon’s mmWave “Ultra-Wideband” network. However mmWave 5G is generally faster than sub-6Ghz, although they travel much shorter ranges.
Currently in the US, Verizon only offers mmWave 5G to customers on phones like the OnePlus 8 5G (UW), LG V60 ThinQ 5G (UW), or the Galaxy S20 Plus/Ultra (UW). The ‘UW’ denotes Verizon’s Ultra Wideband network (their branding for mmWave) so these phones work on the mmWave spectrum and should show the 5G+ icon with Android 11.
What to look for in your perfect 5G plan and network
So you’re considering starting into the world of 5G? Most likely you have a handset in mind, however, possibly you aren’t sure about finding the ideal data plan or carrier? That’s no easy job!
AT&T offers both sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G to customers, however, the coverage of the latter on its network is limited. AT&T also offers a controversial 5Ge connection, which stands for 5G Evolution. It’s a rebranded 4G LTE-A network with little much faster speeds than basic LTE.
AT&T has been heavily criticized by the telecom market for misleading customers into believing they have some sort of 5G technology when they see the 5Ge network icon on their phones. The service provider has now agreed to drop the 5Ge branding, at least from its ads. On the flip side, Google’s decision to retain the 5Ge network icon suggests that you’ll probably still see it on your AT&T phones.
Coming to T-Mobile, most of its 5G coverage is managed by sub-6Ghz tech, although it does have mmWave 5G in some areas. You’re far more most likely to see the 5G icon on your T-Mobile phone instead of 5G+ unless the company chooses to expand mmWave coverage down the line.