No doubt, you've heard a lot about 5G lately. This might have you looking at your current 4G phone and lamenting your inability to connect to the faster network. But is 5G worth buying a new phone over, and should you buy one right now?
There's a lot of talk about 5G these days. You might even think your iPhone is 5G-ready, since, well, it says so right in the status bar. 5G E, right? Sorry to burst your bubble, but no iPhone is capable of connecting to 5G networks yet, no matter how much you pay for that 11 Pro.
5G is here. Well, not everywhere. All three wireless carriers have turned on their 5G networks, but only in select markets. Like 4G, each carrier is doing things a bit differently, which means your 5G experience will not be the same across the board.
5G is undoubtedly the future of mobile networks, and there's a good chance your next phone will have it. But just like with 4G, as carriers race to get the best 5G coverage, the ones running behind are abusing marketing terms to make themselves seem further ahead than they actually are.
In 2009, 4G LTE networks rolled out in Stockholm and Oslo, replacing 3G as a better upgrade to the mobile data technology that gives us the broadband speeds we have on our mobile devices. Over a decade later, and we have the latest, next-generation wireless network technology among us, 5G, but can you even use it?
When you look at the top corner of your phone, what do you see? Upon upgrading to Android 11 or iOS 14, you'll see either "5G," "5G+," or "5G E" if you're connected to the right network. But what exactly do these symbols mean? They indicate not only if you're using 5G, but also what type you're connected to.
For all the benefits 5G brings to cellular data, it isn't without weaknesses, the biggest being privacy. Yes, the latest standard comes with breakneck downloads speeds up to 4.3 Gbps, but at what cost? Like with all things on the internet, 5G devices open opportunities for both good and bad actors.
Not all 5G is equal. Even if you dropped the cash on a true 5G phone and you see it's connected to 5G in the status bar, that doesn't mean you're surfing the web, streaming Spotify, and binging Netflix faster than your friends with LTE phones.
We are now in the age of 5G. Carriers worldwide are upgrading their networks to the newest standard for mobile, which will dramatically improve your phone experience. How? By giving it download speeds and latency that surpass Wi-Fi. But before you upgrade, there are few things you should know first.
You will likely have a 5G-capable phone within two years. Each carrier is working hard to improve its coverage for the next standard in mobile networks, and though the technology is fairly new and only a handful of phones support it right now, this will change very soon.