5G Is Coming…But Does It Matter?

Published on October 18, 2018

5G is coming … to give back everything the darkness stole.

Most people don’t really pay attention to how fast their mobile internet speeds are anymore. Unless you’re doing major downloads on your cell phone or are often streaming while out and about it probably doesn’t matter to you that much that something faster than LTE is on its way. As it stands, LTE is pretty fast when it works the way it’s supposed to and something faster may even seem like a scam. Even Forbes just released a study that shows that most people are unimpressed with their cell phone carriers already.

Here’s the thing, how many people actually have a genuine understanding of what 4G and 4G LTE are? 4G means the fourth generation of mobile connectivity networks and it’s what really got smartphones where they are now. Without fast mobile internet connectivity, the devices we have in our pockets would be essentially useless. When we talk about LTE networks—such as the 4G LTE networks that most smartphone users in the US are on right now (you’re probably reading this from one of those devices)—we’re talking about improvements to those internet speeds.

The first generations of mobile networks could only handle basic communications such as phone calls, text messages and very light amounts of data that went through MMS, which is a type of protocol. That mobile network was the foundation for smartphones of today. If you think back to 2006 you’ll remember how long it took to do things like download a new ringtone or check MySpace on your Razr flip phone’s browser (which was the cellular version of dial-up).

The Future With 5G

The arrival of 5G speeds promises faster download and data connectivity speeds on mobile networks. It will mean that users are able to connect between 25% and 50% faster than 4G speeds are now. While that number may sound impressive, cellular companies are going to have to prove themselves before people flock to the new product. The arrival of 5G also won’t come at a cheap price. This will mean that cell phone bills will increase for those that get the product in its first couple of years. For most people, this will be the deal-breaker that means it’s not necessary. That is, until 5G shows what it can do.

Not only does 5G mean faster internet connection speeds, but it also opens the door for an entire new generation of technology that we haven’t yet seen in the mobile sphere. Though the current demand for the network doesn’t warrant its consumer retail price, it may soon prove otherwise as a hot new tech feature. Think about things like self-driving cars, automated tech and advancements in home connectivity (yet they still can’t fix the NYC subway system?). 5G is expected to begin rolling out in major cities in the first quarter of next year.


Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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