This is the last in our ongoing series about 5G technology. To date, we have discussed the technology and the ways in which it will likely evolve. In this post we will pontificate a bit on how and when 5G will be rolled out to the public, particularly here in the US.
Let’s start with a bold prediction as we enter 2020. That prediction is that almost no one reading this blog will actually get a 5G signal on their cell phone this year. In fact, we doubt many will in 2021 either. The reasons are simple. First of all, most providers such as Verizon and AT&T have barely begun 5G rollouts despite the industry buzz and marketing blitz. Sure, there are a few trial deployments in parts of major US cities and those will grow over this year, but they are almost meaningless from a general usability perspective. Second, there is a dearth of 5G compatible phones. For example, Apple has yet to release a 5G iPhone and the industry rumors are we won’t see one until later (September) this year at the earliest. And finally, even if 5G phones are available and there are some places where you can get a 5G signal what will you do with it?
The main advantage for now (there will be others later) of 5G is faster download speeds (up to 1 Gbps). However, modern LTE networks can easily deliver 20Mbps which is more than adequate for most people. For example, on a phone today, one can easily watch live TV broadcasts (think Hulu) or stream high definition YouTube videos without a glitch; including while driving 80 miles per hour down the highway. Do any of you really need more than that on your phone right now?