What is 5G? What is my benefit from 5G?

What is 5G? What is my benefit from 5G?
You've probably heard of 5G. Your mobile carrier likely has support for it, just like most new flagship smartphones do. 5G has also been in the news due to conspiracy theories surrounding it, which led to vandalism in some countries.

In short, 5G is the next generation technology standard for cellular networks, to follow after 4G and 3G. Like any new technology, it improves on the previous one – in this case providing higher speeds of mobile data transferring, and better reliability. Downloading games or streaming movies on your phone via 5G will be many times faster than over 4G.

All you need to know about 5G, a summarized list:

Will my 4G smartphone support 5G?

Unfortunately, smartphones without 5G support can't get it through a software update. 5G-ready smartphones support it on a hardware level instead. They come with 5G-ready processors and other specialized connectivity hardware. 4G isn't going anywhere, however, so you'll be able to use mobile data on your older 4G phones for many years to come.

Is 4G going away? Should I upgrade to 5G now?

The 4G cellular network technology isn't going to be phased out anytime soon, and is likely to be available for at least another decade. Even today, 3G, which was introduced to consumer cellular phones all the way back in the early 2000's is still widely available. Rest assured that you're not in any rush to upgrade your smartphone and your mobile data standard to 5G.

In fact, waiting a bit longer may have its benefits. 5G-ready smartphones can still retail for significantly higher prices than 4G ones, and the technology itself is still in its infancy, far from being optimally supported in each and every city. As the technology matures, gets optimized and 5G's availability grows, 5G-ready smartphone prices will be getting lower.

How do I know if my smartphone has 5G support?

Use our phone specs tool to search for your phone, and on its page, under the "Cellular" category you'll find 5G information if the phone supports it.

Most modern flagship smartphones are expected to come with 5G support, and may even have "5G" in the title. Current Apple iPhone models don't support 5G, but the upcoming iPhone 12 series will.

Additionally, you may be able to find information on whether your smartphone is 5G-ready on its retail box, or the manufacturer's web page about it.

What exactly is my benefit from 5G?

5G will allow for much faster mobile download speeds and thus lower streaming latency than 4G. It will be especially useful for streaming higher quality video and cloud gaming. Even the artificial intelligence on your phone will benefit from 5G.

Cloud calculations your virtual assistant or certain apps need to do, in order to service you, will happen much faster and on a bigger scale. It's also likely that 5G will introduce new and improved virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences thanks to its fast speeds and low latency. But we're yet to see everything we'll be able to enjoy better thanks to 5G.

What is our collective society's benefit from 5G?

In addition to the previously-mentioned benefits, 5G will positively impact most public and private sectors. Everything, from city infrastructures to individual municipalities will have the potential to be more efficient.

Even the medicine industry and healthcare in general could be greatly improved by deploying 5G in remote recovery operations, training programs, patient health tracking and more. How people live, work, communicate and play will all be impacted by the 5G cellular networks technology standard.

Is 5G dangerous or is it safe? How does 5G work?

As with most new technologies, there have been rumors and conspiracies about 5G, so it's understandable wanting to get informed on the subject. We have an article explaining in great detail how 5G operates on the technical level, and whether it is dangerous or not. In short, there is no reason to believe that 5G networks in themselves are going to be dangerous.

5G is employing a higher range of frequencies than previous cellular technologies such as 4G and 3G in order to function, but the range of those frequencies will still be within the confines of what is considered safe.

Over the recent months, there have been plenty of outlandish 5G conspiracy theories, some of which even made the news. From claims that 5G cellular towers spread COVID-19 or kill birds, to theories that the global pandemic was used as a cover to build 5G infrastructure secretly – they have all been debunked. Arguably the only plausible conspiracy theory among those is that 5G can be harmful to birds due to its use of high frequencies, but that has been proven to not be the case either.

Joe Kirschvink, a biophysicist at the California Institute of Technology recently said that “Radio wave emissions above 10 MHz from radio transmission antennas (including cell telephone towers) are not known to harm birds.” A majority of cases where mass dying of birds has been observed can be traced back to natural causes.

Does my mobile carrier support 5G?

In the United States, all four major mobile carriers support 5G in some way – Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile. 5G is also available in over 40 countries around the world, with many more to follow suit later in 2020 and next year. See the links below for full information on each US carrier's coverage.

Is 5G available in my city?

It's likely that 5G has already been deployed in your city, as the technology has been rolling into most countries and major cities around the world since 2019. However, speeds may vary significantly between cities and carriers at this time, depending on how 5G was implemented.

To see which areas your mobile carrier of choice is covering right now, refer to their respective 5G coverage pages:

Which 5G phones are coming out next?

To learn about upcoming 5G smartphones, see our section dedicated to 5G news, 5G smartphones and 5G phone reviews. There you will find everything 5G, from related news to speed tests, along with upcoming and already-reviewed 5G phones.

Our 5G page is also a great source of information regarding which cities are getting 5G coverage next, and which mobile carriers provide the fastest 5G connectivity at the moment.

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