Joined: Wed Feb 28 2007, 12:14am
Location: Under Your Mom's Meat Flaps!
wrote ... The truth about 5G in 2020 Many tech companies are counting on 5G for what’s next. It could unleash new connected devices — like smarter vehicles and medical equipment — that need faster downloads and less latency, which is the delay in the communication between connections. I’m excited about that.
But up first are smartphones. Carriers are pushing 5G phones to look competitive and to upgrade their systems to handle our crushing data demands. Smartphone makers are marketing 5G FOMO to fuel a “supercycle” of phone purchases after years of ho-hum upgrades.
Your experience with a 5G phone in 2020 is likely to be all over the map. I got searing fast 750 Mbps downloads from AT&T in one corner of downtown. But in the same spot, my 4G phone got an also extremely fast 330 Mbps. Moreover, because of the pandemic, those aren’t places I go very often. As I write this from my home office in the middle of San Francisco, I’m getting 11 Mbps downloads on my AT&T 5G phone. On T-Mobile, I get a laughable 8 Mbps on 5G, which is barely enough to stream HD Netflix.
Should you upgrade? For now at least, the three big U.S. carriers are not charging extra fees to access 5G. But they do require you to buy a new smartphone to use the new network. And for most people, today’s 5G just isn’t a good reason to upgrade. It’s like buying a sports car and then realizing it can’t go over 65 mph very often. You’re stuck in the slow lane while faster ones are built.
Of course, there are many reasons people upgrade phones — you may want a new camera or color. But I think phone makers jumped the gun with 5G in the United States. Back when 4G came out, there was about two years between establishing the standard and the first handset sales, RootMetrics told me. With 5G, there was just one year between establishing the standard and providing the first phone.