5G and What It Means for Us

Ramani Arunachalam, Contributer


    What is 5G? The G in 5G means it’s a generation of wireless technology. The high speeds you enjoy on your phone today are powered by 4G or fourth generation of megabit speeds. Globally, most people see maximum 4G speeds of about 16.9 megabits per second (Mbps), according to Open Signal. 5G brings three new aspects to the table: greater speed (to move more data), lower latency (to be more responsive), and the ability to connect a lot more devices at once (for sensors and smart devices) and 5G promises to deliver Gigabit speeds (>1Gbps). Where as 4G only allows you to stream your favorite YouTube videos in full HD, 5G will make it possible to stream 4K HDR content—and more.

    Who’s providing 5G? The major U.S.-based carriers, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, are going to be the ones providing us with 5G.

    When will it happen? On Oct. 1, Verizon launched what it claims is the country’s first 5G network. AT&T plans to launch mobile 5G in as many as 19 markets by the end of the year.T-Mobile says it will offer 5G mobile service to an unknown number of markets during the first half of the year and reach the entire country at some point in 2020. Sprint has been less specific about its 5G network plans, but says it will be first to offer a 5G phone during the first half of 2019.

    How will it affect us? With 3G, it took about a day to download an HD movie. Now with the 4G LTE networks, available now, slashed the time to minutes. A 5G network would reduce the wait time to seconds. This will be the impact of 5G for the future.