Move Over 4G, 5G is Here to Stay!

The days of 5G are here. It’s no longer hype but a reality. With the Internet of Things (IoT) 5G connectivity will be here sooner than everyone might think. With FCC authorizing LTE-U devices on 5GHz used only by Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices things are going to get really interesting as the technology progresses.

4G, What 4G?

The time of 4G is gone. Consumers can expect 5G phones with LTE-U capability allowing users to download in seconds instead of minutes. With faster speeds, you’ll also get 5G’s lower latency, which means you can play online multiplayer games, and no dropped calls or lag in highly populated areas like New York City or Chicago. That’s because of its superior performance. Moreover, residents in rural areas of the U.S. would be able to benefit from this technology as most of them are still on dial-up, which is sluggish, spotty satellite coverage or inconsistent 4G wireless.

5G is Here and Now

At the 2017 Mobile World Congress trade show, Samsung announced it was working on developing 5G. There was talk of field trials that were under way that we might see a Samsung 5G phone in a year. It’s the next-generation wireless technology that promises to be significantly faster and more responsive than anything before it. We’ll see self-driving cars, telemedicine and devices called Internet of Things (IoT). But the good news at MWC 2018 is that 5G is steadily becoming a reality. It’s rumored that Verizon and AT&T plan to launch limited mobile 5G service this year, while T-Mobile and Sprint are going for a commercial launch early next year. Mobile phone makers and chipmakers are already manufacturing 5G devices for 2019. However, as with all new things there will be some growing pains such as not delivering promised insane speeds may not show up consistently.

The 5G Race

At the MWC 2018 US carriers were showcasing 5G technology for this year. With advanced networks being the next big thing, each carrier is eager to bolster its reputation for service quality, which we all hope will translate into consumers heading their way. Sprint promises to build the first nationwide 5G network by early 2019. It’s expected to set up 5G capabilities in six cities, including Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles, though Sprint customers won’t be able to access 5G until the service launches next year. HughesNet Los Angeles should also see its share of the technology. T-Mobile said it would deploy 5G in 30 cities this year but wouldn’t launch the service until 2019, while AT&T has said it will have mobile 5G available in several markets later this year. But Verizon has said it would be the first in mobile 5G services replacing home internet connection, starting in Sacramento, California. And it doesn’t stop there as there’s already talk about 6G.

‘Pucks’ vs Phones

But those phones aren’t out in the market yet. Verizon and AT&T plan to set up mobile hotspots, also called “pucks” that will capture 5G Wi-Fi signals, giving your devices a portable internet connection. Pucks and laptop cards were niche devices in the early days of LTE as it was the easiest and cheapest way, and were very useful to carriers because they offered data on how the network runs with real customers. But let’s concentrate on 5G phones. Early models may suffer from some of the issues that early 4G phones suffered. For example, HTC Thunderbolt was bulky, had poor battery life and tended to overheat. However, AT&T says there may be phones specifically made for 5G technology, similar to the Thunderbolt. ZTE has been testing both the infrastructure and devices to avoid these problems, while Verizon says being the 4G LTE leader, it is helping its ecosystem partners to improve infrastructure, device, battery life and apps to gear up for 5G technology.

Spotty Coverage

Patchy coverage was another problem that plagued 4G LTE in those early days, and consumers may suffer the same issues with early 5G networks. Your phone would drop to 3G whenever the connectivity would be affected. And you wouldn’t be able to get back on 4G even if you got into a 4G area because your phone often wouldn’t recognize the network. Although 5G would be 10 to 100 times faster, you could experience a more dramatic drop-off. It’s like driving on the highway at 60 miles per hour, and then getting stuck on a street doing 10 mph. This can happen with super-high-frequency radio waves, which deliver the fastest wireless speeds. And that is because they have a short range and can easily be disrupted. T-Mobile and Sprint are trying to overcome these issues by using lower-frequency airwaves for 5G, offering broader coverage and less chance of a dramatic fall to 4G. But there will be plenty of areas where there will be no 5G coverage this year. However, the good news is that carriers are also upgrading their 4G networks with Gigabit LTE, which boosts current speeds immensely. Phones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Samsung Galaxy S9 are already have it.

Price Hikes

Another concern is whether 5G will be marketed as a premium service with a price tag to match. We are already paying for higher speeds. Others don’t think so. Every consumer won’t pay the high price because for them the benefits aren’t many. After all, you can stream “Stranger Things” on your phone just fine on 4G. But you will see 5G phones in 2019, albeit, with higher prices.


5G is new technology that is agile and sustainable enough to bring about a new era of business for Communications Service Providers (CSPs). In the near future, a complete 5G solution will include radio, baseband, transport, core, transformation services and business modelling, supported by customer experience management, short- and long-haul transport, cloud-native core, integrated management systems and turnkey services. All this will help CSPs to provide their customers with service and performance at a very affordable price.

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