Phones, tech, and the networks they use to connect us to the world at large are always in a state of whiplash inducing evolution. Hardly a year goes by without some company or another revolutionizing the game with new hardware or software that transforms the way we use smartphones. And 2019 is looking to be no different with talk of 5G networks exponentially increasing in frequency.

5G is the next generation of mobile broadband that will eventually phase out our current 4G LTE connection. That sounds impressive and all, but what does that promise us in more concrete terms? Furthermore, if 5G is expected to have a similar experience to 4G in regard to its deployment, how long will it take until certain locations even support the new network? These are the two major questions you should be asking yourself before indulging in that impulse need to pick up the smartphone market’s latest and greatest.

What Makes 5G Such an Exciting Development?

woman using smartphone at school

Aside from the fact that it’s been nearly a decade in the making, there’s plenty of reasons to be eagerly anticipating the next generation of mobile broadband. Of course, faster phones and website loading times are to be expected, but what else does the daily phone user stand to gain?

Surprisingly, 5G also promises less battery consumption for your smartphone! With less computing and loading needing to take place whenever you visit a webpage or watch a video, your phone will be able to save more power and increase its lifespan. Though we can’t quite say your battery will last an entire month without petering out, you’ll surely be pleasantly surprised with your phone’s performance come 5G.

Those who use their phones for telecommuting will also be happy to hear that lowered latency will make video calls and messaging much less of a hassle. No longer will you have to worry about awkwardly talking over your peers during that crucial phone meeting.   

Frankly, the development for 5G couldn’t have comes at a better time either when you consider just how close carriers are to exhausting their supply of LTE capacity. Unfortunately, having 5G developed and having it actually usable in your hometown are two entirely different stories.   

When Can You Expect 5G in Your Neighborhood?

residential neighborhood

If only it were as simple as flipping a switch and granting sped up connections and decreased latency for all. Like most good things, 5G is going to take some time before it’s readily available to everyone. Roll out plans are going to vary based on your telephone provider. Sprint, for example, is launching 5G services in four different cities this May and T-Mobile is doubling down on their declaration of supporting the new broadband network in the first half of 2019.   

Verizon and AT&T are also making good on their plans to deliver 5G speeds, but their focus has been more pinpointed on millimeter wave spectrum tech, meaning higher speeds but a much more limited range.

The key take-away from this is that 5G isn’t going to be dropped across every city and every carrier. At least not right away. You’ll definitely want to keep an eye on your particular location and carrier to see if you can expect to even receive 5G support before investing in the hardware for it. Considering how long it took for 4G to hit the majority of American cities, some of us may just have to wait close to two or three years for 5G.

Is It Worth Picking Up a 5G Phone This Early?

woman using smartphone

Now that we know exactly what’s on the table and when we can realistically expect 5G speeds to reach our homes, let’s ask the question one more time. Is it worth picking up a 5G phone at this moment in time? Realistically, no.

We may have seen some impressive strides from current phone providers and some even more impressive 5G compatible phones like Samsung’s Galaxy S10, but the price points for these plans and phones are exorbitant to say the least. That’s largely due to the fact that 5G isn’t a staple for everyone yet and is still being seen as a luxury add on. Keep in mind that 5G will soon become a given for most phones once it’s been rolled out to the same audience 4G currently is. If you do, you’ll come to see that paying the extra cost for 5G models of phones like Samsung’s is more of an “early adopter tax”. If you’re happy to fork over that kind of money for early bragging rights, all power to you. Others who don’t mind the wait, however, will eventually end up with a 5G phone whether they like it or not once the network becomes the standard.

Leave a comment