South Korea became the first country to roll out a nationwide 5G network way ahead of everyone else. This means that its implementation is no longer a subject of speculation and debate. The move by South Korea will most likely cause a ripple effect as other countries rush to catch up. In the US, major carriers like AT&T and Verizon have already launched their 5G networks in select cities and states.
What Is 5G and How Will It Affect You?
There is no doubt that 5G is the future when it comes to connectivity. What is it and how will it affect you? To understand what it’s all about, we need to take a look at its predecessors.
- 1G – The very first generation of wireless cellular technology. It only supported voice and had a maximum speed of 2.4 GHz. It was also analog.
- 2G – An upgrade to digital transmission introduced support for SMS and MMS. Maximum speeds of 50KB/s on GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) and 1MB/s for EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates). 2G is still in use today.
- 2.5 & 2.75G – These were more or less interim standards used by cellphone manufacturers to accommodate new features on newer phones.
- 3G – Introduced faster transfer speeds that enabled video calling and mobile internet. Maximum speeds were 2MB/s.
- 4G – This is the current standard and has been in use since 2008. It can support more demanding services like video conferencing, online gaming among others. Maximum speeds are 1GB/s.
5G is intended to have even higher speeds of up to 20GB/s.
However, some argue that it is more of an incremental upgrade for normal consumers using cellphones, tablets and other popular consumer devices. 4G is without a doubt still capable of delivering content like games and videos. Carriers will have to look beyond normal consumers by seeking to enter into agreements with other industry players that need high-speed technology.