When Is 5G Actually Going to Get Here?

The shift to 5G feels like a tech revolution happening in slow motion…

5G is coming. I promise. And the carriers have said that the new cellular standard will reduce network congestion and pump out data so fast that smartphone users can download all the Star Wars movies in just a few minutes.

And when it finally does happen, it is going to spark a massive technology shift. We’ll be able to have cars and streets and cities that communicate with each other. That may seem pretty useless right now, but in the future, it will lead to things like driverless cars, collision-less streets, and a safer and cleaner place for us to live and work.

Are We There Yet?!

But the shift to 5G feels like a tech revolution happening in slow motion. Last year, AT&T and Verizon, the two largest American carriers, lit up their 5G networks in a handful of cities. Handset makers released only a few phones that were 5G compatible. And the majority of us saw no significant improvement to our cellular networks.

This week at CES, the massive consumer electronics show that happens every January in Las Vegas, the carriers are insisting that 2020 will be a turning point for 5G.

AT&T and Verizon say they expect their 5G networks to be accessible nationwide this year and that at least 20 smartphones will be 5G compatible, more than quadruple the number from last year.

“2020 is pivotal because you’ve got a good foundation built, and the ecosystem starts to form,” said Kevin Petersen, a marketing executive for AT&T.

We Are Not Impressed

The carriers are making it out to be some major improvement, but in reality, it’s something a little less impressive. This year our networks will broadly shift to a version of 5G. But it will be a version that is far less than exciting. It’ll sort of be 5G, but not quite all the way there.

This hybrid 5G will have speeds that are only slightly faster than current 4G networks. The main benefit will be a reduction of lag-time. In theory, 5G technology will shave this latency down to a few milliseconds. But that’s about it.

AT&T and Verizon say their 5G networks, which will be made up of mostly hybrid 5G and a tiny bit of the real thing, should be activated nationwide this year. T-Mobile, which put a priority on deploying hybrid 5G over real 5G, said its network was available nationwide last year.

In short, the broad shift to 5G won’t be mind-blowing just yet because, while a foundation exists, much of the infrastructure needed for true 5G wireless networks still has to be built.

Full story at Wealth Daily

2 Comments

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