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.