T-Mobile has updated its coverage map so you can now tell what type of 5G you can get -- the kind that's relatively fast or the kind that just covers a lot of territory. An updated T-Mobile US network coverage map offers a darker color for the faster 5G "ultra capacity" than for the 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 seems so poky.
You'll still have to do a lot of zooming and panning to compare with the AT&T network coverage map and Verizon coverage map, though, especially if you care about getting a signal in more than one or two places. I also recommend checking out my colleague .
For T-Mobile, you shouldn't expect any of the 5G speed hype to apply on map areas with long-range 5G coverage. That uses low frequency radio spectrum that's better at traveling long distances and penetrating the walls of buildings. But T-Mobile got a lot of midrange spectrum with its acquisition of Sprint, and that's an important way for T-Mo to stand out. The company this week boasted its midband "ultra capacity" service now reaches 165 million people in the United States.
T-Mobile didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. PCMag spotted the coverage map change this week.
T-Mobile's rivals should become more competitive as they put new midband radio spectrum to work later this year. AT&T and Verizon bought rights to use it in the Federal Communications Commission auction of C-band airwaves.
Verizon and AT&T have their own terms to differentiate between fast shorter-range service and slower long-range service.
AT&T calls its relatively slow long-range coverage "5G" and its midrange and even higher frequency millimeter wave (mmWave) "5G Plus." Verizon calls its low-range "5G nationwide" and its midrange and mmWave "ultra wideband."
As long as we're on the subject of decoding tech terms, don't confuse Verizon's ultra wideband with the entirely separate.