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How to know when you’re on Verizon’s fast or slow 5G on an iPhone 12

Verizon’s new ad for iPhone 12 introduces a different 5G logo, but this one – unlike AT & T’s 5G E – actually means something. Now, if you’re an iPhone 12 owner and in one of the small but growing areas of Verizon’s network that supports its 5W mmWave range, you’ll see a new “5G UW” logo.

UW stands for ultra-broadband, the type of radio technology that enables Verizon to deliver connectivity on the higher frequency mmWave spectrum. That variation of 5G will in theory be much faster than your standard low band 5G, but it is only in select cities and only in areas of those markets where Verizon can deliver consistent, uninterrupted signal.

The new iOS-specific logo, which resembles the Android platform̵

7;s “5G UWB” logo, was revealed in an ad with Chris Rock and designates Verizon as a dedicated partner for Apple in the iPhone manufacturer’s launch of its first 5G-compatible smartphones. If you’re just on the standard 5G network that Verizon now offers, you’ll only see a “5G” logo, the ad confirms.

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg appeared during the iPhone 12 virtual unveiling event yesterday, and the company also used the Apple launch to promote its major expansion of 5G coverage throughout the United States. Verizon’s rollout helps keep it competitive with AT&T and T-Mobile, both of which have rolled out different levels of 5G, while Verizon only offered its limited (but fast) mmWave coverage.

Now Verizon customers can access low-band 5G, which is slower but easier to deliver, thanks to Verizon’s use of Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) technology that allows the company to use parts of its existing LTE network to deliver some faster low-band 5G coverage.

Here is a practical overview of DSS 5G and how it will compare to mmWave from The Verge‘s Chaim Gartenberg:

The upside of DSS is that it enables Verizon to quickly expand its low-band 5G offerings. It provides the same nationwide 5G footprint as AT & T and T-Mobile’s low-band network without requiring Verizon to buy the spectrum and build a whole new network or cut down on LTE offerings to allocate that space to 5G.

The new DSS-based Verizon 5G will be held back by the same limitations as competing low-band competitors in exchange for the enhanced range. Due to the nature of the spectrum, speeds will be lower than the ultra-fast mmWave 5G that Verizon is currently offering – although they should still offer an improvement over existing LTE speeds.

The reason Verizon has two logos is because they want customers to know when they can tap on the much faster, but geographically limited 5W mmWave style. The iPhone 12 has both standard and mmWave, thanks to the new antenna, which the US-exclusive antenna window on Apple’s new smartphones shows. But most consumers across the United States will have access to 5G tapes when they finally buy a compatible phone, so Verizon believes it needs a clear logo to distinguish between the two.

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