Here’s what that 5G + icon in your status bar really means “Smartphones :: Gadget Hacks
When you look in the top corner of your phone, what do you see? When upgrading to Android 11 or iOS 14, you will see either “5G”, “5G +” or “5G E” if you are connected to the correct network. But what exactly do these symbols mean? They not only indicate if you use 5G, but also what type you are connected.
3GPP (the creators of the 5G standard) has opted for several frequency ranges to provide 5G. This was the best solution for operators, as they were able to deploy 5G both quickly and at less cost. Unfortunately, these frequencies provide a different experience over 5G, resulting in multiple icons.
The different 5G icons
If your phone has a 5G modem, you will see one of the following two symbols: 5G Where 5G +. 5G means your phone is currently connected to 5G NR on a frequency below 6 GHz. The bands in this range offer better coverage but slower speeds. The higher the frequency, the faster your download speeds.
Unfortunately, this icon will not tell you if you are connected to a low band (less than 1 GHz) or a medium band (1–7.125 GHz) 5G, but a quick speed test will give you a rough idea, as low as the tape gets download speeds of 30 to 250 Mbps and the average band gets from 100 to 900 Mbps.
T-Mobile has added this icon to their phones even when they are not connected to the 5G network, so if you are unsure, download the Signal Spy app (on Android) or enter Field Test mode on your iPhone. to see what connection you have.
Then there is 5G +. If you are lucky enough to see this symbol in your status bar, rejoice, you have access to a multi-gigabit connection. 5G + indicates that you are connected to an mmWave 5G NR tower, short range radios that deliver blazing speeds. Performing a speed test will reveal the download speeds of 1 to 3 Gbit / s. For context, 4G LTE averages around 0.025 Gbps on most US operators.
For those on Verizon, you can see 5G UWB in the status bar. This is the trade name of its mmWave network and it is the same as 5G +.
What about 5G E?
Sorry to tell you, but if you see 5G E, you are not on a 5G network. This symbol is a fake 5G, and in fact, you are connected to an LTE Advanced network. You can see speeds faster than a typical 4G network, but nowhere near 5G or 5G +. Unfortunately, Android 11 had added this symbol, and AT&T already includes this icon in the status bar of several phones.
Images by Jon Knight / Gadget Hacks
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