5G – hype vs. reality

5G vs 4G

So what is 5G in theory?

5G is the fifth generation of cellular networks. Theoretically it should deliver data speeds of as high as 10 Gbps (Gigabits per second), latency as low as 1 millisecond and up to 100x number of connected devices per square mile compared to 4G.

Is it always faster than 4G/LTE?

In theory yes, but not in reality. Here is a speed test in NYC.

4G speed by standard is up to 1 Gbps but effectively networks have been delivering 3-5% of such speed. 4G/LTE Advanced is delivering improved speeds but is still at 10-20% of the ultimate 4G speed.

Do I get 5G mobile service whenever my phone shows such signal?

No, because you need two things to get 5G service: a dedicated subscription and a compatible device. With very few exceptions, most smartphones today don’t support 5G which requires special hardware to be built into your device.

Which smartphones support the new generation?

Today very few smartphones support 5G; the most common ones include Samsung Galaxy S10/20, LG V50 ThinQ and Motorola Moto Z4. iPhone 11 does not support 5G.

Do I need 5G to stream UHD/4K videos?

Not really. Ultra High Definition (UHD) videos that are also known as 4K videos require data speeds of 15 to 30 Mbps, and thus can be streamed on 4G/LTE service (you can also check our blog post Why unlimited cellular data has many limitations!).

What are common mobile applications available for it today?

Very few mobile applications benefit from 5G or require its data speed & latency today. Live gaming, AR/VR and transactional apps are expected to benefit from the new generation in the near future.

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