T-Mobile’s Ultra Capacity 5G

In a press release shared yesterday, T-Mobile started referring to some of its 5G services as Ultra Capacity 5G. We’ve seen this kind of branding move before. Verizon calls its 5G service using low-frequency signals 5G Nationwide and its millimeter wave service 5G Ultra Wideband. AT&T calls its millimeter wave service 5G+.

T-Mobile’s Ultra Capacity 5G will typically deliver excellent speeds, but it isn’t well-suited for extensive coverage. Ultra Capacity 5G stands in contrast with T-Mobile’s low-frequency 5G, which T-Mobile is branding as “Extended Range 5G.” T-Mobile’s Extended Range 5G has better coverage potential than Ultra Capacity 5G, but Extended Range 5G will tend to deliver slower speeds.

I expect T-Mobile intentionally copied the word “ultra” from Verizon’s term 5G Ultra Wideband. While Verizon reserves the phrase Ultra Wideband for millimeter wave 5G, T-Mobile is using Ultra Capacity to refer to both mid-band and millimeter wave 5G.1 I’m guessing T-Mobile is hoping consumers will incorrectly conflate the two terms.

While I’m not a fan of T-Mobile’s deceptive naming, I have to acknowledge the company’s cleverness. T-Mobile is leading the nation in mid-band 5G coverage, but the network is way behind AT&T and Verizon in millimeter wave coverage. By using a single branded term for both mid-band 5G and millimeter wave 5G, T-Mobile can brag about how extensive its Ultra Capacity 5G coverage is without drawing attention to how little millimeter wave coverage the network offers.

Footnotes

  1. Yesterday’s press release uses the phrase “Ultra Capacity 5G” when discussing T-Mobile’s mid-band 5G. Since the press release was published, T-Mobile has clarified that Ultra Capacity 5G refers to both T-Mobile’s mid-band 5G and T-Mobile’s millimeter wave 5G. Hat tip to Mike Dano who shared this clarification on twitter.

2 thoughts to “T-Mobile’s Ultra Capacity 5G”

  1. Deceptive despite the fact that they have criticized mm only implementation of Verizon. They have repeatedly explained it while pointing out that mm only is not going to work. This is deception unless you are a shill for other companies.

    1. Having a bit of trouble parsing this, but I take it you’re accusing me of being a shill? My conflicts of interest likely do slant Verizon over T-Mobile. I’ll get that out in the air immediately.

      I think Verizon outrageously overhyped mmWave early on (and have been vocal about that). Still, I’m not at all convinced mmWave won’t work. Eventually, it may become a valuable capacity layer in dense areas. Admittedly, Verizon needs additional capacity more than T-Mobile.

      For what it’s worth, since this post, Verizon has made it seem like it’ll label its c-band 5G service as “Ultra Wideband.” I guess Verizon’s moving the goal posts too.

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