Will I Need a New Phone to Support 5G?
5G technology is here. Are you ready to take advantage of all it has to offer? 5G will provide blazing fast internet speeds and allow you to download movies, documents and music almost instantaneously. 5G is also capable of incredible amounts of data bandwidth, so many people can use the signal at the same time. Businesses will be able to take advantage of new technologies and file sharing at a moment’s notice.
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Using wavelengths of between 30 and 300 gigahertz, 5G relies on many small towers called small cells in a closer proximity to deliver signal. For this reason, 5G will be much more prevalent in urban areas for now. Infrastructure costs dictate they build cells in areas where many customers can use them. 5G also has the disadvantage of not being able to pass the signal through obstacles like walls and trees, so if you are not in an area where there are many towers, you may not be able to take advantage of the network. There are solutions for this that we will discuss later.
With speeds from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps, 5G will allow smartphones to be able to handle more and more unique applications. From watching movies on your phone in the middle of the park to connecting to the coffee shop to running your business, we will be able to use our phones for almost everything. Does this mean you need to run out and buy a new device? Will your 4G phone work on the 5G network? What if I’m not in the middle of a big city?
Let's find out.
What Phones Support 5G Networks?
5G and 4G use different technologies. 4G uses a different frequency or bandwidth to deliver signals. 5G uses a radio technology that has to be compatible with the phone. The signals for both of these are not received or transmitted in the same way. As a result, if you want to take advantage of 5G speeds, you will need to invest in a 5G phone. Android has a large selection of phones compatible with the 5G network including the Samsung Galaxy series, LG has a 5G phone, Moto Z4, Z3 and Z2 have 5G Moto Mod and there are a few others. Check your provider’s store to see what they carry.
Keep in mind that the 5G network is not all encompassing just yet, and unless you are in an area where there is consistent 5G service, the 5G phone will use the slower 4G service. It depends on how cutting edge you are.
What about the iPhone XR?
iPhone does not currently have a phone that works on the 5G network, but they are coming soon. The iPhone XR will not support 5G, nor will any other iPhone currently on the market. By the time 5G becomes more widespread, Apple will be ready. Expect iPhone choices later in 2020.
Will my 4G phone work on the 5G Network?
The 4G network is not going away, but in order to use the 5G technology, you definitely need to buy a new phone. Your 4G phone will work just fine and in the way you are used to, but if you want to take advantage of new technologies and 5G speeds, you need a new phone. One possible side effect of keeping your 4G phone is that, as others shift to the 5G network, the 4G network may become less crowded and you may experience higher speeds.
Will my 3G phone work in the 5G Network?
This is a sticky situation. There are still a lot of people who can only get 3G where they live, and a lot of people who are just not interested in moving to the higher speed networks and into smartphones. Currently, the 3G network is supported, but that is slated to change. You definitely cannot take advantage of 5G speeds and technology with a 3G phone. The question will be how long can you even use a 3G phone?
Verizon no longer allows activation of 3G devices on its network. They shut down their CDMA network at the beginning of 2020. You will need to use a 4G or new 5G phone after that date if Verizon is your carrier. AT&T is scheduled to discontinue its support of 3G by 2022 as well. It will be interesting to see how folks in rural areas that can currently only receive 3G signals will be impacted. Tracfone is extremely popular and their users will need to upgrade to VoLTE compatible devices by the end of 2020.
Which countries support the 5G network?
5G is a worldwide standard, but the rate of adoption in certain countries varies. The United States is leading the way and rolling out 5G networks in many major metropolitan areas. All of the major carriers and some smaller ones will have 5G services in select markets in 2020.
Other major countries with prevalent networks include Canada, Mexico, South Korea, China, Japan, Qatar, Kuwait, India, Indonesia, Europe, South Africa, and Central America. It’s best to check a coverage map and the individual countries to see their plan for implementation.
Which mobile providers support the 5G network?
Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T all have plans for a nationwide 5G network in the United States. Sprint and T-Mobile plan to merge, so they will combine forces. US Cellular and other smaller providers are jumping on the bandwagon as well. Across the world, each country has their own providers that will customize a network for their major cities.
List of 5G Enabled Smartphones
If you're looking to upgrade to a 5G Enabled phone, here is the complete list as of March 2020 of 5G enabled phones and upcoming 5G phones:
- Huawei Mate X
- Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
- LG V50 THINQ
- Xiaomi Mi Mix 3
- OnePlus7 Or OnePlus 7T
- ZTE Axon 10 Pro
- Motorola Z3
- NOKIA 10
- Samsung Galaxy Fold
- Huawei Mate 20 X 5G
- OPPO Reno 5G
- Energizer Power Max P8100S
- Alcatel 7 5G
What about 5G Signal Boosters?
Back to the fact that 5G can’t go through obstacles like walls and trees. The strongest signal will be outdoors between the cell sites. How do you transfer that signal to the office or in your home? This is where you can utilize a signal booster or extender! Put the antenna on the outside of your home to capture the signal and the booster inside your home will continue or boost the signal inside the walls.
Newer signal boosters are designed to handle 5G signals as well as boost 4G LTE signals. Signal boosters may be the key in using 5G in your home or business. They will be able to transmit the 5G signal where it would normally degrade and keep it strong enough to take advantage of what it was designed for.
Learn more about 5G ready signal boosters here.
I’m Ready to Roll!
If you are not in an area where 5G is currently implemented, you may soon be. There are plans for installation all around the world. The estimate is that, by 2023, 32% of all Check your provider and cell phone stores for new technology and available dates. This is the wave of the future and you should be aware of what 5G has to offer.
Have any specific questions about a phone? Ask us in the comments below.
How Can I Improve My 4G, LTE, or 5G Signal?
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