Is it worth going out and getting a 5G device or waiting?
You’ve likely been hearing a lot about the arrival of ‘5G’ but what actually is this new technology, and how will it affect the wireless industry? 5G is the newest generation of improved internet connectivity with a greater capacity to keep up with the growing population of connected users and their streaming demands. 5G services started to come into the market in 2019, and the race between major U.S. wireless carriers is predicted to lead to more widespread availability by 2025.
5G is a major leap in wireless technology, boasting faster connection speeds, greater capacity, and decreased latency. To give you an idea of just how fast 5G actually is, previous 3G networks had average response times of around 100 milliseconds while the more recent iteration, 4G, has a response time of 30 milliseconds. 5G will be as low as 1 millisecond. The drawback, however, is that its range is shorter and will require more cell towers and infrastructure to be built in order to accommodate it.
So, as the rise of 5G connectivity continues, and this incredible technology becomes more available, is it worth going out and getting a new 5G phone right away?
There’s No Rush
As of early 2020, there are only 14 countries that are offering 5G connectivity. In the United States, only the four major network providers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint) have 5G so far and it’s only available in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. So, it’s more than likely not available in your neck of the woods right this moment.
Eventually, 5G will be everywhere, and you will inevitably have to upgrade to a new device that is 5G compatible. But until then, there’s not much reason to rush out to the store to buy the 1st generation 5G devices. Plus, by the time 5G is nationwide, you’ll be able to get an improved phone likely for a much more affordable price.
Additionally, in the early stage of 5G development, connectivity between new 5G devices and 4G and 3G devices is bound to have some hiccups. The wireless industry is still adjusting to the 5G transition and is working through the kinks. By patiently waiting for the technology to mature before you jump onboard, you can avoid dealing with these headaches.
Impact on the Wireless Industry
The hype surrounding 5G has been the buzz of the wireless industry in recent years. The four major U.S. networks are in a race for 5G supremacy, rapidly acquiring infrastructure in order to support it. As they tout the arrival of the technology to customers in hopes to secure more market share, in reality, they have little to deliver at this moment.
Yet, the initial sales boom caused by 5G compatible devices indicates that the smartphone market will see growth in 2020 around the world. Analysts are predicting that shipments will increase by 1.5 percent to 1.4 billion this year, with 5G smartphones totaling 190 million. Plus, as 5G phones become more prevalent on the market, development will eventually lead to other 5G devices becoming available, such as tablets and smartwatches.
Rural areas will be a major beneficiary of advancements in connectivity with 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA). This new technology will allow carriers to deliver ultra-high-speed broadband to suburban and rural areas as a viable and cost-efficient alternative to Fiber, Cable and DSL.
The Good and The Bad
5G is set to revolutionize the wireless industry for carriers, companies, and consumers alike thanks to its increased speed and decreased latency. It will further pave the way to transform the way we connect with the world – enabling advancements with smart cars, smart appliances, virtual reality, and more. As a result, it is projected that 5G will create 3 million jobs, adding $500 Billion to the US economy.
The downside? The road to full 5G availability throughout the country is a long one, likely taking another four to five years just to cover all major cities, let alone rural areas. In the interim, the cost of a 5G device will be very high for the average customer, and not worth the price tag.
So, our recommendation is to be patient and wait for 5G connectivity and its accompanying device technology to mature before investing in a new phone. By the time coverage is readily available in your area, 5G phones will likely have all of their bugs ironed out and their prices will be much more reasonable.