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5G is almost a reality - here's what to expect

08 May 2019


amaysim's tech geek

The next generation of mobile network technology is inching closer and closer, which means one thing; faster data speeds right?

Yes, it’s true, the arrival of 5G will bring faster than ever speeds to our mobile devices, however it remains to be seen whether the hype surrounding 5G will live up to expectations.

I mean there’s claims 5G will allow us to download an entire HD movie in 6 seconds, which seems downright ridiculous, yet also amazing.

So...what can we actually expect once 5G arrives?

What’s 5G again?

5G is the fifth generation of mobile network technology that’s set to offer speeds we’ve simply never seen before on our mobile devices.

There’s no question 4G has significantly enhanced the way we’ve been able to explore the internet from the palm of our hands, and although 4G speeds have been a revelation, the maximum download rate for 4G connections sits around 1GBps.

This is where things get interesting; 5G networks are set to handle data rates of up to 20Gbps, possibly even more as the network evolves over the coming years, meaning 5G has the potential to be twenty times as fast as 4G.

When will 5G become available across Australia?

Initial access to 5G services will depend on your location, with metro CBD areas in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane expected to get the first piece of the pie in 2020; althought there will also be limited access opportunities in 2019 with trials already taking place.

Once 5G does fully arrive, it will primarily exist in CBD hubs, rather than suburban and rural locations, with the rollout to extend throughout remaining parts of Australia over the next few years.

Will 5G be faster than the nbn?

The current standards suggest the minimum data rate for a 5G network will start at 100Mbps and yes, theoretically 5G connections will be capable of being significantly faster than maximum nbn speeds.

With this said, the network bands being used as part of 5G have their own challenges in travelling over larger distances and although Australian 5G networks are being designed with the intention of handling mass scale connectivity, it would be naive to believe we could solely rely on 5G for all our internet needs.

This is not to dismiss, that later down the track once the 5G network matures and becomes more readily available, there could very well be instances where 5G connections make much more sense than a fixed line nbn connection.

5G Phones

Will I need a 5G phone to obtain 5G speeds?

Despite a number of 5G sites starting to become live, existing mobile devices won’t support the frequencies that 5G will run on, so you’ll need to upgrade to a 5G compatible handset to enjoy the lightning fast speeds.

Luckily, 5G smartphones are expected to hit stores at the back end 2019, with Samsung, Huawei, and OPPOS, all confirming 5G handsets to be released within the year.

Heavyweight, Apple are yet to announce their own plans surrounding the first 5G enabled iPhone, however industry insiders speculate it will likely arrive in 2020.

Regardless where your brand loyalties lie, 5G-enabled phones won’t use 5G exclusively, and will instead switch between 5G, 4G, LTE, and possibly 3G, depending on the available coverage in your area.