5 things you need to know about 5G
Carriers are starting to roll out the super-fast service this year.
Every day, it seems, we're doing more and more with our smartphones – checking more social media, downloading more content and watching more videos. But waiting for all that content to load? Who has time for that? Well, you'll be happy to know that faster mobile technology is in the works – much faster.
So what exactly is 5G? Here's what you need to know, just to whet your appetite for a new world of super-fast mobile data:
It's been in the works for a few years.
Despite the fact that 4G LTE networks only gained wide usage in the past few years, 5G has been researched since at least 2008. That's when NASA began studying 5G technology. In 2013, Israel and India agreed to partner on bringing 5G technology to their countries, and Chinese telecom giant Huawei began to fund research into the technology.
It'll be much faster than 4G.
Verizon is on the forefront of 5G technology testing in the U.S. (Photo: Juston Sullivan/Getty Images)
5G will increase download speeds up to 10 gigabits per second. That means an entire film can be downloaded in a matter of seconds. So when you download "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," it'll take mere seconds instead of a few minutes.
You'll be able to ditch your cable modem.
5G will allow your entire house to be connected via a super-fast mobile network. (Photo: Scott Bedford/Shutterstock)
5G will deliver speeds that will be on par with many current home networks. It'll allow many devices to be connected to it at the same time. So if you've been looking forward to having everything from your thermostat to your refrigerator on your wifi network, you might only need to use your mobile network to accomplish it.
It'll be widely available around 2020.
Verizon announced in April 2019 that it would be rolling out its 5G wireless service in two U.S. cities: Chicago and Minneapolis. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg told CNBC that they'll activate 30 additional markets this year. AT&T announced a millimeter-wave-based service called 5G+ in December 2018, but it only works on mobile hotspots in some cities. Its new network, 5G+, still runs on 4G speeds for now. T-Mobile and Sprint, which are in the midst of a merger, have said they plan to launch 5G later this year. So our guess is that by 2020, it should be pretty widely available across the country.
It'll make you rethink your data plan.
Hopefully, one day you'll see this symbol on your phone. (Photo: Natthapenpis Jindatham/Shutterstock)
If you think you're quickly blowing through your monthly data plan with 4G, then 5G will probably chew up your plan during your billing cycle's first week. Hopefully, by then, the basic mobile data plan will be much bigger than it currently is, because we know that once we'll be able to download a movie in 10 seconds, we'll never leave the house.
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