Just when you were getting used to your 4G phone, it looks like 5G technology is just around the corner — and there are a lot of implications for your both your wireless service and your home Internet connection!
5G: Here’s what to expect
All the major wireless carriers and home Internet providers are rushing to bring the 5G (5th Generation) experience to cities across America. Here’s what you need to know when 5G comes to your town.
What does 5G offer?
Speed is the name of the game when it comes to 5G. This new technology can send enormous amounts of data at incredible speeds. In fact, it will be up to 50 to 100 times faster than current 4G speeds.
With the coming 5G network for mobile devices, you’ll be able to download an entire full-length movie in 15 seconds!
Is 5G available yet?
The wireless carriers have been testing 5G in a variety of cities for months now, and we’re starting to see the first wide-spread commercial rollouts to residential customers.
Earlier this week, Verizon announced that it is now taking orders for 5G Home in select markets for what’s being billed as “the world’s first commercial 5G service.”
Current Verizon Wireless customers with a qualifying smartphone plan will pay $50/month for the service — it will be $70/month for everyone else — and there are no additional hardware costs.
In addition, Verizon is giving you three months of free YouTube TV (normally $40/month) and a free Apple TV 4K or Google Chromecast Ultra device when you sign up.
Meanwhile, Verizon’s competitors want in on the action, too.
You could make a plausible argument that the T-Mobile/Sprint merger deal announced earlier this year was about ramping up to 5G as soon as possible.
“The new company will be able to light up a broad and deep 5G network faster than either company could separately,” a press release noted at the time.
T-Mobile says that will mean delivering 15x faster speeds on average nationwide by 2024; in addition, many customers will enjoy up to 100x faster speeds than early 4G offered.
Where will 5G happen first?
The Verizon 5G Home offer will be available in parts of Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento, California, beginning October 1.
AT&T, meanwhile, announced back in February that Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Raleigh and Waco, Texas, would be among the first cities to get 5G from them.
Houston, New Orleans, San Antonio, Jacksonville and Louisville will be next in line.
Following those rollouts, 5G service will become available to AT&T customers in parts of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose by early 2019.
Finally, T-Mobile continues to get ready for the new tech deployment. The Un-carrier inked a $3.5 billion agreement with Ericsson earlier this week to provide 5G hardware.
How will 5G impact what you pay for home Internet/TV?
Money expert Clark Howard calls the arrival of 5G a “game-changer.”
If you’ve been unhappy with what you’re paying your monopoly cable or phone company for TV and Internet, that’s about to change. Clark says this is the last year that high-speed internet service will be a monopoly-provided product.
Additionally, having an ultra high-speed 5G connection in your home will change the way you watch TV.
“4K TV that’s pretty much been a ‘no-go’ with a phone company Internet connection or a ‘slow go’ with a cable company Internet connection will be ultra high-speed and will result in a beautiful picture on your TV screen,” the consumer champ says.
Using your phone is about to undergo a quantum leap
The majority of people access high-speed data on their phones, rather than on a laptop, tablet or desktop. So look for phones from all manufacturers to have 5G receivers in them to pick up those ultra high-speed signals.
Once you have a 5G phone in your hands, the impact of the new technology will be very noticeable.
“If you do something on your phone, it will load quicker than your eye can register that the screen has changed,” Clark says.
Clark’s take: What 5G means for the monopoly incumbents
Having competition changes things. Once you get past the “wow” factor of 5G, Clark anticipates it will provide a real alternative to the monopolies with better prices and, hopefully, better customer service.
To that end, he’s warning people about signing long-term contracts with monopoly cable and phone companies. There’s a big push among those incumbents right now to lock you into multi-year contracts because they’re afraid of 5G.
“It’s coming and they’re not prepared to provide a better experience. So that’s why they’re trying to lock you into a contract,” the money expert says.
“Don’t sign a contract unless you’re fully aware about what the penalties would be to break it and are prepared to do that if a much better deal comes along as 5G ramps up.”