back to blog

The future of 5G – what is it and what does it all mean?

08 Mar 2018


amaysim's tech geek

Every new generation of wireless networks brings us faster speeds and more functionality for our smartphones. 1G delivered us the very first mobile phones, 2G gave us the ability to text, 3G allowed our phones to go online and we have 4G to thank for the internet speeds we have today.

With more and more people and devices connecting online, users are powering through data like never before using their mobile devices.

Now we’re looking towards 5G, the next and fifth generation of wireless, with the hopes that it brings us even greater connectivity.

what is 5G?

5G stands for the fifth generation of wireless technologies. This new wave of tech is set to deliver faster and more responsive internet, with the ability to connect multiple devices without compromising quality.

There is no doubt that 5G will  transform the smartphone industry and the ways in which we consume data. It will eventually leave our current 4G LTE network feeling as slow and irrelevant as 3G seems today. But it’s important to remember that 5G is very much still in the planning stage.

how fast will it be? will I even notice a difference?

We can naturally expect for 5G to technically be faster than 4G, but by how much? The proposed maximum download speeds for 5G are 1-10Gbps which is a lot faster than what 4G can provide - with 4G capability capping out at a maximum of 100/Mbps

But what does this actually mean for its users? To give you an example, on the 5G network you'll technically have the ability to download a HD movie in under a minute. That’s faster than it takes to boil the kettle!

Although this is no doubt a promising development, the speeds you're able to obtain on a regular basis will still depend on a number of different factors including your device, location and the source of your download.

will 5G be expensive?

As was the case with both 3G and 4G, it's very likely that when 5G first hits the market, it will be built around certain use cases (primarily business use and supporting some home wireless connections), and as such there may be extra costs involved when it firsts rolls out and before it comes fully viable for mainstream consumers.

will 5G work on 4G phones?

When 3G reached our shores in 2003 it wasn’t the end for 2G, in fact some providers kept running 2G until earlier this year. This is expected to be the same for 5G. 4G phones should continue to work throughout the early implementation of 5G. And it’s probably more likely that you’ll end up buying a new smartphone long before 4G is decommissioned.

However, as the 5G frequencies differ from the 4G technology, you’re eventually going to have to get a new smartphone in order to access the 5G network. You will not be able to simply ‘update’ your 4G phone. It’s hoped that new phones coming onto the market in the next couple of years will have the necessary tech already built-in.

when will it be ready in Australia?

Most providers in Australia are aiming for 2020 as their widespread launch. We may see a handful of 5G networks available in 2019 in metropolitan areas. But as the 5G specifications haven’t even been set yet, it’s hard to know whether this will actually be true 5G.

what else can we expect to see with 5G?

The rollout of 5G will help enable the development of other new tech. For instance, driverless cars will be able to interact with each other, creating smart roads and improving traffic, while the combination of 5G and the nbn rollout means there will be huge improvements in live-streaming, virtual reality and a boost in cloud computing capabilities.

While you’re waiting for 5G to become a reality, make sure you’re getting the most out of your 4G service and mobile plan.

If you needed a gentle reminder, amaysim’s SIM-only UNLIMITED plans are all on the Optus 4G Plus network - offering superfast, reliable coverage.

Starting from just $10/28 days, with no lock-in contracts and the option to change your plan each month at no extra cost, it’s an easy choice when it comes to finding the perfect mobile plan to match your usage and budget needs.