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What Is 5G And How Will We Benefit From It?
Jamie Durham, IT Correspondent
Image by Mohamed Hassan
4G – or the fourth generation of mobile communication network – is the current standard of mobile data and is now 10 years old. Believe it or not – and as with anything in the technology world – this is considered ancient.

So, the fifth generation is now set for roll out.

But, what is the difference?

The main improvements will be speed, capacity and reliability. With predictions of 5G being up to 20 times faster than the current 4G network, we could see a phone’s download rate shoot up to 1GB and beyond. China is currently reporting speeds of 19GB, and to put that into perspective, your super-fast home fibre connection from BT is, at its bes,t connecting at 80MB – and there are a 1000MBs to 1GB.

Capacity is also a major problem for 4G – you may notice this at sports and entertainment events when you can’t access the internet. This is because too many people are using the network at one data site. But, with the arrival of 5G we should see huge advancements, which will not only mean you can upload a picture of the event, but advertisers will also be able to send relevant offers to you.

There are also a growing number of devices referred to as the Internet of Things (IOT), which are adding to capacity issues. These are smart devices like Nest thermostats and Ring doorbells, which use your home broadband. Where they are unable to access WIFI they utilise mobile data, and this extra requirement to an already busy network further decreases speed.

Will it really make that much difference?

In short, the answer is yes. Speed drives almost all innovation, and this will be no different. The advent of 5G will herald changes and opportunities we can’t yet envision, as well as enable new technologies that were previously deemed unfit for mobile data.

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What does it mean for me?

You may want to do a bit of research on your next mobile upgrade, and ensure your new phone can connect to 5G. Given that it is becoming more common to sign up to 36-month contracts, you could end up in a position where you can’t take advantage of the technology until it’s a third of the way through its life cycle.

On the other hand, you could choose to stay on an expired contract if it ends near Q1 of 2020, as it’s likely networks will be offering more data at competitive prices.

If you thought your life was fast paced already, then you may be in for a shock. With people being able to do more, at a quicker rate, it will ultimately mean the demands of life are going to accelerate too. This will hopefully tie in nicely with advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence though, to make our lives easier and more efficient.

What Is 5G And How Will We Benefit From It?, 12th June 2019, 16:21 PM