Does 5G exist?
5G is set to revolutionize the technology industry and how we use our phones. This wireless technology will deliver faster speeds than ever before with an ultra-low latency, giving us the ability to do and connect to more than ever before. Compared to the current 4G network you know and use, you can expect an average 5G user speed of 1 Gbps, while 5G speeds can top out at 20 Gbps (4G tops out at 1 Gbps) and a latency of just one millisecond, faster than 4G at 10 milliseconds. The hype behind 5G is real but a lot of people are asking, does 5G actually exist? In short, yes it does, but let’s dive a bit deeper.
Let’s backup to review just how 5G works. 5G will be composed on the low, medium, and high band spectrum, and there are only frequencies in which 5G networks can produce the high speeds we are expecting, the Sub-6GHz and millimeter wave technology (mmWave) which has frequencies between 30-300GHz. The Sub-6 operates on the mid-band spectrum while the mmWave operates on the high-band spectrum.
Currently, most carriers are using the Sub-6 spectrum for their 4G LTE networks but will require more bandwidth to deliver the promised 5G speeds and latency. Carriers like AT&T and Verizon will be leading the charge using mmWave technology to deliver their promised 5G speeds. However, the biggest issue with mmWave technology is that while their frequencies can pack a punch, they lack the ability to travel far distances and penetrate through walls and structures. All carriers are expected to utilize a multi-band strategy to implement their 5G networks, which would include a mix of low, mid and high-band spectrum.
Carriers will have a hard time implementing mmWave in rural areas because the signal cannot travel far, thus carriers would need to build out tons of small sites to carry the signal, and that’s just not feasible for rural or even suburban areas. Which is why you’ll see carriers utilizing low and mid-band spectrum frequencies to cover larger areas with 5G. T-Mobile recently announced in November of 2019 that they’ll launch their 5G network built on the 600 MHz band spectrum. For customers, this will mean wider coverage and the ability for 5G penetration through buildings and walls. This is huge because it will mean you can get 5G coverage, even indoors.
With 5G starting to roll out across the U.S., some people may have coverage in their area, while most of us may not. However, for those who are lucky enough to have 5G coverage, a 5G capable phone is needed to connect and use the new, better-than-ever network. Not to worry if you don’t have a 5G phone, you’ll still likely see a better performance of your existing 4G LTE network.
Each carrier is working to build out their 5G networks, but it’s a tedious new technology that will require a massive infrastructure overhaul and a lot of work to get rolling. If you’re wondering about availability in your area, below is a list of cities where 5G is available, based on the carrier:
Sprint: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, Washington, D.C.
Verizon: Atlanta; Boise, Idaho; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Detroit; Indianapolis; Minneapolis; New York City; Omaha; Panama City, Florida; Phoenix; Providence, Rhode Island; St. Paul, Minn.; Washington, D.C.
T-Mobile: New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, Cleveland, Atlanta
AT&T: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Jacksonville, Orlando, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Louisville, New Orleans, Charlotte, Raleigh, Las Vegas, New York City, Oklahoma City, Nashville, Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Waco
DISH Network: DISH is the newest name in wireless technology, pending the merger of Sprint and T-Mobile, DISH will emerge as the fourth wireless carrier.
Keep in mind, carriers are still developing the network and are always adding new markets, so if you don’t see your area listed, know it could be the next one to launch!
If you have 5G in your area, then you may be wondering what 5G devices are currently available and which carrier has a phone that suits your needs. There are currently a few phones on the market today that you can get that already have the 5G hardware installed, but be mindful, only specific carriers carry a specific phone.
Currently, Verizon has that most 5G capable phones available for purchase. The Samsung Galaxy Note10 + 5G, Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, and LG V50 ThinQ 5G are available for purchase. The moto mod is available for the Motorola moto z4. You can upgrade to your phone to access this new network for $10.00/month.
The only 5G phone AT&T has is the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and is only available to customers on the Select Business Plan, Unlimited Extra or Unlimited Elite plans.
Sprint has a few 5G capable phones, the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, LG V50 ThinQ, and Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, and with an FCC-approved merger, both Sprint and T-Moblie will merge as one wireless carrier, and work together to build their 5G network.
T-Mobile has two 5G capable phones on their network, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition.
Since DISH’s 5G network buildout is pending the T-Mobile and Sprint merger, we don’t have any information regarding possible phones that will be available on their network.
So in a nutshell, 5G does certainly exist and it’s going to become a more prevalent part of your day-to-day life as each carrier starts major 5G roll outs in 2020. There’s no specific dates of when to expect 5G coverage in your city, but you can keep yourself up-to-date on your carrier’s website. In addition, your favorite cell phone manufacturer is working diligently to stay on-top of the latest in 5G technology so you can expect to see more 5G capable phones emerge onto the market as 5G becomes the new standard. With faster speeds and a super-low latency, you’ll want to make sure you’re 5G ready when it hits your area because you don’t want to be left out of this exciting new phase in wireless technology.