Every few years, a new generation of mobile network enters the market and in 2019 we are seeing the transition from 4G to 5G, but what’s the difference? For many, the transfer from 3G to 4G was seeming of little importance and was hardly noticeable aside from increasing data bandwidth speeds.
As such, to better understand 5G, we will be exploring what it means for networks, the benefits and implications of this new generation as well as helping you to determine what differentiates 5G from its 4G predecessor.
What is 5G?
In order to begin to understand the difference between 5G and previous generations, we must first define 5G. As with any generational update, 5G is faster, smarter and more efficient than ever before. By offering speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second, 5G networks are set to operate 100 times faster than the current operating speeds of 4G. Naturally, there will be general performance improvements but most notably, it will allow for superfast mobile broadband.
What differentiates 4G and 5G?
The key difference between 4G and 5G is undoubtedly the drastic reduction in data transfer time meaning communication between devices will be much faster. Currently, many users regularly experience bandwidth issues with both 3G and 4G due to the number of devices and people connected to these networks. 5G aims to solve these issues and have the capability to successfully sustain a high level of traffic. This will mean users can expect to make clearer calls using 5G to other 5G areas, significantly faster download speeds for HD and 4K videos and what is predicted to be almost ‘instant connections’
When can I switch from 4G to 5G?
A number of network providers such as EE, Vodafone and 3 have already launched 5G in a range of cities such as London, Manchester and Edinburgh and will continue to launch in more later this year. Providers such as O2 are also set to launch in October 2019 starting with 6 major cities and following suit by expanding in the latter end of the year.
Will I need a new handset?
In short, yes. There are currently a number of 5G compatible handsets on the market such as the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Oppo Reno 5G, OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, LG V50 ThinQ and the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G, to name a few. It is, however, worth consulting with your current provider to determine whether your current mobile is 5G compatible. For this reason, many have predicted that 5G isn’t likely to take off until 2022 when the market price for 5G handsets has decreased. However, towards the end of 2019 and the start of 2020, it is predicted that we will see a lot more 5G handsets released- so keep an eye out!
Since the inception of first-generation networks in the 1980s, mobile networks have rapidly evolved to the 4G services we use today. The previous evolutions from 2G to 3G and 3G to 4G have primarily focused on faster data to fuel the rise of mobile broadband. Ultimately, what we are now experiencing with the shift from 4G to 5G is so much more than increased speeds but the creation of a new platform and opportunities for global markets within mobile applications.
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