You Asked, We Answered: What is 5G?

The next giant leap in wireless technology is on pace to arrive next year. 5G is the fifth generation of cellular technology, and field tests have indicated that it will deliver greatly enhanced speed, coverage and responsiveness for wireless networks. It’s been estimated that 5G network service will provide speeds 10 to 100 times greater than what we currently experience with 4G LTE.

When describing cellular networks, you’ll commonly hear the terms 3G, 4G, and LTE. This new terminology, “5G,” simply refers to the fifth generation, meaning it is the next and newest mobile wireless standard being developed under recognized international guidelines. A new mobile generation has appeared about every 10 years since the first “1G” system was introduced in 1982.

Smartphone apps and features like email, GPS, video streaming and Internet browsing rely on sending and receiving data across a cellular provider’s network. Each successive generation has managed to significantly increase the speed by which this happens, and the latest 5G tests have delivered the fastest responses yet—even faster than anything you can get with a physical fiber-optic cable into your house. To put that into perspective, that means that with 5G, you’d be able to download a season’s worth of your favorite streaming program in seconds!

But it isn’t all about speed. 5G has been referred to as a “foundational technology” that will provide a viable platform for marvels like self-driving cars, virtual and augmented reality, and even medical services like remote surgery. The responsiveness of 5G is critical for things like playing an intense video game in virtual reality, or for a surgeon in San Francisco to control a pair of robotic arms performing a procedure in New York. That’s because the speed of 5G will provide a virtually lag-free connection

But this doesn’t mean you need to rush out to buy that first 5G smartphone just yet. 5G network service won’t be widely available until 2020 or beyond. Wireless providers are still testing and rolling it out slowly in select markets. While some 5G smartphones are expected to come out this year, the access they have to utilize the technology will be fairly limited.

So how will the arrival of 5G affect Consumer Cellular and our customers? The answer is—only for the better! We’re always updating our choice of devices to make sure you have access to the latest technology. All of the smartphones we currently carry are 4G LTE capable, so rest assured that when 5G finally zips into the market, we’ll be more than ready to bring that to you, as well.

71 Thoughts on "You Asked, We Answered: What is 5G?"

  1. Uvon Perkins says

    I love Consumer Cellular I wish I could convince more of my acquaintances of the fact that it is all you want it to be. I just need to keep costs down as much as possible well still helping you all to make a little money. thank you

    reply to Uvon

  2. Marna Murphy says

    We love out CC. However, cell companies really need to look at rural areas for connectivity. Our works in certain areas of our house, but not others and we even invested in a booster. Would love to see this addressed as well as how fast it can work. They only seem concerned with people in cities and their connectivity.

    reply to Marna

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thanks for your feedback, Marna! It will be interesting to see what the future holds, and how these increased connection speeds help all of us.

      reply to Ashley

  3. Michael Mack says

    I hope Consumer Cellular offers the 5G for computer internet and streaming tv. I’m happy with the way Consumer Cellular does business unlike most internet providers.

    reply to Michael

  4. Jim Stevenson says

    I agree whole heartly. This could not be easier to use.. You can change plans and options without any complications, penalities, or additional costs or fees.. An excellent gift. Highly recommended. 5 stars.

    reply to Jim

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We’re glad to hear that our service is a good fit, Jim! Thank you for your very kind words.

      reply to Ashley

      • Bradley says

        Will CC change carriers to offer expanded coverage and the fastest 5G?

        reply to Bradley

        • Hi Bradley, thanks for your post. At this time, we have not heard if, or when, we will be offering the 5G network to our customers. If this changes at any point though, we will definitely let our customers know as soon as possible.

          reply to Jacob

          • Emily says

            Are some of your phones 5G compatible, even if you don’t offer 5G right now? For instance, most or the other Samsung s20s are 5g compatible with other companies but with yours it does not say that.

          • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

            Hi Emily, the Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20+ that we sell with our service are the 5G models. These are the only 5G compatible phones that we currently have available with our service.

  5. Kevin P McCarthy says

    will 5G come with a big price tag?

    reply to Kevin

  6. Danita O'Leary says

    Does Consumer Cellular work with phone to phone calls? Right now all my kids, and us, have Verizon. I would be interested in this if so.

    reply to Danita

  7. David Merren says

    Best deal I have had in a long time.

    reply to David

  8. sally says

    current customer:
    what happens if and when you get 5G in Washington/Seattle and we cant afford to buy that 5g android smart phone from you ?, will you give us a break on the price, i know the 5G phones are going to be super expensive , i will have to revert back to a flip phone when that happens , and wait for the prices to drop…..

    reply to sally

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thanks for asking, Sally! Since 5G is just in the beginning stages, your current phone will continue to work well for some time. We’re committed to offering affordable phones for our customers now and in the future. We appreciate you posting, and we hope you have a lovely day!

      reply to Ashley

  9. Edward white says

    Consumer cellular need to have an unlimited data plan for their network. That and the fact that after your 20gb of data is gone the data speed “decreases”. I say that in quoatations because after your data is gone you can barely look up a place to get something to eat. Please fix this problem before you lose a valuable customer to a network that offers what every network should offer standard which is unlimited data.

    reply to Edward

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for posting, Edward. We appreciate your feedback regarding your plans. While we don’t have plans to increase the data usage available with our service at this time, we have passed along your feedback. If any changes are made, we will be sure to notify our customers.

      reply to Nicole

  10. Greg says

    who will roll out 5G 1st? Verizon or AT&T?

    reply to Greg

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Thanks for the question, Greg. We do not know exactly when, or by which provider, 5G service will be released first. If this in any way affects our customer’s service, since we do use AT&T towers (as well as T-Mobile), we will be sure to let our customers know.

      reply to Nicole

  11. Bernie Grossman says

    Heading to Vegas in late June and see that AT&T has 5G Evolution. My phone was an AT&T and now has a CC SIM card. Will I be able to get their 5G?

    reply to Bernie

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      That’s a great question, Bernie. If the 5G Evolution (5G E) service is available in that area and your phone is compatible, then you should see an indicator at the top of your phone where “4G” or “LTE” normally are. If not, then your phone will connect to 4G LTE service instead. Since this cellular technology update is fairly new and managed by AT&T directly, there is limited information available.

      reply to Nicole

  12. Patrick Ponce says

    My wife has an older Motorola android phone she’s had for 4 years. She has issues now with pulling up a picture and sound on her text messages and can’t have too many apps or her phone fills up without enough memory for any pictures.

    reply to Patrick

    • Hi Patrick, I’m sorry to hear about the trouble your wife is having with her phone. Depending on the model, one way to create more storage space would be to purchase and use a memory SD card. This is something that can store things such as contacts and pictures for her and leaves more room for applications. Otherwise, I would strongly suggest uninstalling any old applications. With the trouble she’s having with pulling up pictures in text messages, it sounds like we will want to look into that data connection to make sure everything is working. Please give us a call at 800-686-4460 to start the troubleshooting process. Or, you can also chat with one of our live agents here.

      reply to Jacob

  13. Ron says

    I have no problem accessing and placing on line orders with Consumer Cellular

    reply to Ron

  14. Ron says

    Will 5G users be able to talk to 4G users and vice versa?

    reply to Ron

  15. Karen L Vauris says

    When you offer 5G will we have to buy new phones. I have a Samsung Galaxy J3. It has an A & T sim card.

    reply to Karen

  16. RogerB says

    The new Apple IPhone 11 or 11 Pro is not 5G.
    Apple said they wanted to see problems in the 5G rollout. When they feel comfortable with 5G they will release a 5G IPhone. That’s why I’ve used iPhones for years. They always watched and waited on new developments

    reply to RogerB

  17. Mark says

    When will Consumer Cellular be offering 5g home internet service?

    reply to Mark

    • Hi Mark, thanks for your question. At this time we don’t know when or if we’ll be offering home WiFi services but thank you for that suggestion! I’ve gone ahead and forwarded it on to be reviewed internally. If there are any other questions we can help with, let us know.

      reply to Jacob

  18. Jim Murray says

    Is the Samsung S20+ that consumer cellular sells compatible with 5G?

    reply to Jim

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      That’s a great question, Jim. The Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus are both 5G-capable devices. While we don’t have 5G service available with our network at this time, when it becomes available those phones would connect to it where available.

      reply to Nicole

  19. Gilsson says

    Great information regarding future 5G service, thanks!

    Reading through the responses answered all of my current questions, please continue the good work!

    reply to Gilsson

  20. Robert says

    any update on 5G availability?

    reply to Robert

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for posting, Robert. We don’t have any updates about 5G availability at this time. However, we have started to sell 5G phones: The Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20+.

      reply to Nicole

      • Colleen says

        How is Consumer Cellular selling the Samsung Galaxy s20 as 4G? They’re 5G capable?

        Are the Galaxy s20 phones going to be cheaper on Consumer Cellular since CC doesn’t support 5G?

        reply to Colleen

        • Hi Colleen, thanks for your question. Our service is not supporting the 5G network at this time, but our Samsung S20 does have the option to support it once it is available to us. If the 5G network does become available, we will let our customers know as soon as possible. At this time, we have not heard of any major price drops for any of our phones since the 4G LTE network is still being used, if there are any sales that take place on our phone, they will be listed on our website for our customers.

          reply to Jacob

  21. William says

    Recently AT&T announced to me that they will disable 4G/LTE service for certain phones by 2021. My iPhone 5S falls under the unsupported category on that date because it is not 4G/LTE HD or lsomething like that. I understand Consumer Cellular rides on the other major carriers’ spare capacity (including AT&T & Verizon).

    Will Consumer Cellular be affected by this change. (Verizon has moved to 5G apparently as well?). I became interested in Consumer Cellular through the ads I saw in AARP materials; and that AT&T will stop support for my 5S.

    I want to switch (due to cost) but not sure if the 5G roll-out is going to affect the current phone that I have come 2021. (I hate switching phones.. all that transfer of data is a big headache). If Consumer Cellular will support 4G/LTE in the near future (say 5 more years) then I’ll switch up right away…


    reply to William

    • Hi William, thanks for your questions and interest in our service! At this time, we have not heard of any near-future plans to be phasing out the 4G/LTE network for our customers. You can continue to use the older iPhone model on our website, we would just advise that it does need to be VoLTE capable to continue to use it as technology continues to upgrade and evolve.

      reply to Jacob

  22. Gregg says

    I have an almost brand new Galaxy A50 by Samsung and am converting over to Consumer Cellular tomorrow. Will the A50 run 5G?

    reply to Gregg

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Hi Gregg, the Samsung Galaxy A50 doesn’t appear to be a 5G phone, so it wouldn’t connect to 5G service. However, you can verify that with Samsung to make sure. We have 5G available on the T-Mobile side of our service, so if you have a 5G-compatible phone, then it would connect to 5G where available.

      reply to Nicole

  23. Tim K says

    @nicole “We have 5G available on the T-Mobile side of our service, so if you have a 5G-compatible phone, then it would connect to 5G where available.”

    I currently have a CC T-network SIM. When I acquire a 5G phone (e.g., iPhone 12), will I have access to 5G service if I put that same SIM into my new phone, or do I have to get a new CC SIM for 5G. Thank you.

    reply to Tim

  24. Linda S. Bornmann says

    My samsung J3 2016 has 4g LTE so will my phone be o.k. when you eliminate 3G ?

    reply to Linda

  25. Billy says

    Can you provide an update on when 5G will be available on the AT&T side of the CC service?

    reply to Billy

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Hi Billy, we don’t currently have a timeframe as to when 5G service will be available on the AT&T side of our network. When it’s available, we’ll be sure to let our customers know.

      reply to Nicole

  26. Jim says

    We will acquire new iPhone 12 devices when they come out. I am currently on ATT and am exploring the option to set up either T-Mobile or CC when we purchase the phones. Other than price of service, what makes CC advantageous over T-Mobile in the Palm Springs area of California.

    reply to Jim

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      We appreciate the interest, Jim. With use both AT&T and T-Mobile towers for our service, and the coverage you would receive on our service would be the same as those networks but at a fraction of the cost.

      reply to Nicole

  27. Jim says

    Referring to my comment above, our new iPhone 12s will be 5G capable.

    reply to Jim

  28. Nick says

    I’m looking at getting cell phone. Do you have a 5G net work in the Virginia Mn. Area. If not when do you expect to.

    reply to Nick

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Hi Nick, when 5G service is available depends on the implementation by our carriers. At this time, we show that there is minimal 5G service in Virginia, MN.

      reply to Nicole

  29. Bernadette says


    Since Consumer Cellular is upgrading to 5G soon, will that affect people with phones that aren’t 5G compatible? Will we still be able to use 4G? We don’t want to have to buy a completely new phone if our phones are already relatively new.

    Thank you!

    reply to Bernadette

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Hi Bernadette, 4G LTE devices will continue to work with the implementation of 5G service. Currently, only 3G service is being phased out. If you have any questions about your device, you can give us a call at 888-345-5509 or chat with us here.

      reply to Nicole

  30. Richard brethauer says

    I have a cc 101 flip phone. Is it compatable to the 5g system?

    reply to Richard

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Hi Richard, since the Consumer Cellular 101 is a 3G device, it will not work once 3G service has been fully phased out. You can review all of our available phones here. The phones on our website will continue to work with the network changes.

      reply to Nicole

  31. William C Turner says

    My Samsung Note 8 currently says it connects to LTE/3G/2G through CC. Will I be able to connect when 3G is discontinued?

    reply to William

  32. Taylor says

    Hi–I have a I-Phone 4s. I believe I just have 3G service thru CC–will that not be supported anymore once 5G rolls out? And if so, what is that date so I can plan to purchase a newer phone. Also I have a family member on my plan–they have a I-Phone 5. Is that impacted too?

    reply to Taylor

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Hi Taylor, the 3G service that the Apple iPhone 4s uses is being phased out, so it will not work once the 3G sunset has been completed. We also would not expect the Apple iPhone 5 to work with this network change as well. All of the phones that we currently have available will be compatible through the network change and can be found on our website here.

      reply to Nicole

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