What is 5G Ultra Wideband?

July 15, 2022

5G technology has come into our lives to revolutionize connectivity. In fact, its possibilities are far above the mobile communications that preceded it.

How 5G Ultra Wideband Started

Beyond the bombastic names created by marketing, the authentic 5G Ultra Wideband (UWB) is the one that provides speeds above average. The first to offer this was Verizon through a millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum with ultra high frequency (EHF) and extremely short range.

Its only -and important- drawback was its very limited geographical scope. This tried to be solved in 2020 with its new 5G Nationwide network. This however, was not able to match its predecessor, which was rebranded by Verizon as 5G Ultra Wideband.

Ultra-Wideband Vs. 5G Ultra Wideband

Honestly, the title 5G Ultra Wideband is nothing more than a trade name used by Verizon, being extraneous to genuine ultra-wideband (UWB) radio technology.

We must bear in mind that a device may have ultra-wideband radios and this does not imply that it includes 5G connectivity. In addition, this technology includes a wide spectrum of frequencies, but works at a very low power level (to favor the precise tracking of devices such as AirTags). But it has nothing to do with Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband!

What Is 5G Ultra Wideband?

5G Ultra Wideband is the name given by Verizon to its “Premium” 5G service, characterized by its greater speed and capacity. It is distinguished by a 5G icon that incorporates the characters “UW” or “UWB”.

At first, this name was reserved for its minority mmWave network. The huge number of customers of this operator who stayed outside of it had to use the 5G Nationwide network, whose performance was that of a 4G / LTE service.

The Magic Of C-Band

Fortunately, the gap between the restricted 5G Ultra Wideband and the majority 5G Nationwide ended when Verizon acquired a portion of the C-band frequencies. With this, the operator was able to roll out new mid-range spectrum, which went on to increase the range of your 5G Ultra Wideband network. The number of Verizon users who were already able to experience 5G speeds increased dramatically thanks to it!

The optimal balance between range and performance that characterizes this mid-range spectrum makes it optimal for 5G. Neither Verizon’s low-band nor mmWave frequencies offer that suitability.

A Competitive Landscape

We have already seen that Verizon’s commitment to band C has been very useful to continue taking advantage of its 5G Ultra Wideband network. However, he still has a lot to do.

The merger of T-Mobile with Sprint in 2019 allowed it to inherit a considerable portion of 2.5GHz, so it did not need to wait for the C-band auction. Thus, its 5G Ultra Capacity (5G UC) network already reaches more than 200 million Americans.

AT&T has its 5G Plus (5G +) network: mmWave coverage in densely populated areas and has incorporated a Band C service in several cities. On the other hand, (and unlike Verizon), this operator acquired a mid-range spectrum that did not generate controversy with the airlines.

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