Timotheus Hoettges, chairman of Deutsche Telekom, presents the next telecommunications standard, the 5th generation mobile networks 5G. Timotheus Hoettges, chairman of Deutsche Telekom, presents the next telecommunications standard, the 5th generation mobile networks 5G. Timotheus Hoettges, chairman of Deutsche Telekom, presents the next telecommunications standard, the 5th generation mobile networks 5G. (Photo: Oliver Berg / AFP/Getty Images)

5 things you need to know about 5G

AT&T will begin offering the service in 2018.

Every day, it seems, we're doing more and more with our 4G smartphones – checking more social media, downloading more content and watching more videos. Well, you'll be happy to know that faster mobile technology is in the works.

So what exactly is 5G? Here's what you need to know, just to whet your appetite for 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 wireless storeVerizon 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.

Internet of things5G 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.

AT&T has announced that it will be rolling out the service in several U.S. cities in 2018. Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile say they won't be too far behind. So our guess is that by 2020, it should be pretty widely available across the country.


It'll make you rethink your data plan.

5g symbolHopefully, 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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