Becca Martin

Becca Martin

PR & Content Executive

The Ultimate Guide To 5G

5G was first introduced in 2019 and is gradually being rolled out across the UK day by day. From accelerating the introduction of self-driving cars to facilitating the creation of smarter homes, it has many applications in our technological world, besides just quicker internet browsing on our mobiles. With 5G networks predicting that they’ll have more than 1.7 billion subscribers worldwide by 2025, it’s certainly going to revolutionise the way we use technology…

The Ultimate Guide To 5G

What is 5G?

To put it simply, 5G is the 5th generation mobile network. It offers much faster data download and upload speeds compared to any of the other generations, including 4G. It also will provide an overall more uniform user experience so that the data rates stay consistently high, even when users are moving around. To put it into context, according to Qualcomm, 5G will enable users to download a full 8k movie 500% faster than with 4G LTE. It’s estimated that by 2024, 25 percent of mobile data traffic will be carried by 5th generation networks. 

How does 5G work?

All wireless communications systems use radio frequencies to carry information through the air. 5G operates in this way too, but uses higher radio frequencies that are less cluttered. This allows it to carry more information at a much faster rate. So, why didn’t we just use these higher radio frequencies sooner? Cost and accessibility. This technology is expensive. It is estimated that telecom companies will invest as much as $275 billion into 5G infrastructure before 2025, so it’s by no means a small project.

Does it use more data?

Research carried out by Opensignal, showed that during September 2020, across six countries, 5G smartphone users on average consumed between 1.7 and 2.7 times more mobile data than 4G users. Consumption was greatest in South Korea where smartphone users used an average of 38.1 GB of mobile data for the month. Whilst users might be using more data, some preliminary studies have shown that, depending on the apps you use, it may use less power than 4G, so your battery life might improve as a consequence. 

When will 5G be nationwide UK?

As it stands 5G is currently available in 303 towns and cities in the UK. To check the availability in your area (and which networks provide it), use this coverage checker. In terms of a nationwide coverage, most providers are currently targeting 2022 as the year the whole of the UK should be able to access it.

Will it work on all phones?

No, in order to utilise 5G you will need a phone with specific capability as it requires specific hardware. That said, if you have a 4G phone it will work on a 5G plan, you’ll just only receive 4G speeds. As it stands, here are a selection of the phones on the market that have the capability; iPhone 12 (and the Mini, the Pro and the Pro Max), Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and OnePlus 9 Pro. 

What other applications does 5G have?

Besides allowing us a faster mobile connection, 5G will open a lot of doors for further technical advancement. From smart(er) homes to smart ports, to industrial automation and self-driving cars, to remote-controlled robotic surgery and rich augmented reality, its applications span far and wide. 

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