Everything you need to know about 5G
5G is set to transform the way we communicate wirelessly across devices with blistering speeds up to 20x faster than 4G.
So whether you regularly buy into the latest technology as an early adopter or are just keen to learn more about the benefits, this guide is for you.
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What is 5G?
5G is the 5th generation cellular network technology promising superfast data download and upload speeds, more extensive coverage and more stable connections. 5G is a brand new technology that makes better use of the radio spectrum to enable far more devices to access the mobile internet at the same time.
Why do we need 5G
We live in an on-demand world where everything from smarter homes to streaming movies, music and games puts increased demands on 4G networks.
While 4G currently provides an acceptable mobile user experience for many people, carriers are running out of 4G capacity and users are already witnessing slowdowns during busy times of the day.
Slowdowns or latency are set to get worse as consumers and businesses make more use of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology. So the shift to 5G is a necessity if we want to continue using mobile broadband.
What is IoT?
Internet of Things (IoT) technology is a sensor network of billions of smart devices that connect people, systems and applications to collect and share data.
Many of us make use of IoT without even realising it: think Google Home, Alexa Voice, and the Apple Watch or mobile phone controlled washing machines,
home security, and heating. We also take advantage of IoT when we book an Uber.
And 5G is helping bring the future closer by enabling driverless cars, delivery drones, and even reactive traffic systems to function.
Is 5G safe?
Conspiracy theories circulating online claiming that 5G signals have been linked to cancer have no proven basis in scientific fact. 5G has been under development for many years and will soon be a part of everyone's lives.
Is 5G secure?
5G is no less secure than 4G from a technology point of view, it's more about how we make use of it.
5G is destined to connect significantly more devices and applications across the world, so security experts believe there will be more opportunities for threats to take place.
However, the concerns are not aimed at users downloading music and movies or gaming. Interests are more directed at large transfers of personal data in areas such as remote patient monitoring in healthcare, and the risks of cyberattacks on driverless vehicles.
Which mobile networks offer 5G?
2019 has emerged as the dawn of 5G for smartphones, and the networks are rolling out capability at a staggering rate.
EE was the first network to launch 5G in the UK on May 30, 2019 — closely followed by Vodafone. Three and O2 are set to roll out 5G by the end of the year although BT will start to run its 5G mobile service off the back of EE this Autumn.
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7 devices you can choose from to take advantage of 5G now
5G doesn't work on 4G devices so you'll need to upgrade if you want to take advantage of a new superfast experience.
Apple users might be disappointed to hear that 5G iPhone's are not expected until the second half of 2020.
But the good news is if you are an Android advocate or happy to make the switch from iOS, you have 7 phones to choose from, all bristling with the latest technology:
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
The upgraded version of the flagship Galaxy S10 with new, improved features including a 6.7-inch QHD+ curved screen and six cameras with a built-in 3D depth sensor.
OnePlus 7 Pro 5G
Reports suggest the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G offers the fastest 5G downloads. Comes with a 6.7-inch screen and a pop-up selfie camera.
LG V50 ThinQ
Comes with a 6.4-inch screen and triple-lens camera providing standard, telephoto and ultrawide options.
Huawei Mate 20 X 5G
The massive 7.2-inch screen is closer to a tablet than a smaller smartphone. Includes a triple-lens rear camera.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G is one of the cheapest current 5G handsets and features a 6.39-inch screen, a pair of cameras on the back, and a slide-out dual-lens selfie camera.
Oppo Reno 5G
The Oppo Reno 5G has a 6.6-inch screen, a pop-up selfie camera, and a triple-lens rear camera with the primary lens, telephoto lens, and an 8MP wide-angle lens.
If you've even sat down with an ultra-thin smartphone in your back pocket and ended up permanently bending it, you might consider the Royole FlexPai foldable phone. However, early reviews suggest this is not a particularly polished model, and current models are aimed at developers.