What is 5G and how will it be faster?
The 5G Network – with the G standing for generation – is the near future of the wireless industry, serving as an answer to the world’s rapidly growing demand for fast data consumption in bulk amounts. This fifth generation of cellular connectivity is slated to be much faster than the current fastest network, 4G LTE.
There are a couple ways in which these faster speeds will be achieved:
- First, the new network is expected to have a lower latency, meaning that the time it will take the network to recognize a request for a data transfer will be significantly reduced.
- Second, the new network will run on a different, higher frequency signal than the 4G network, allowing network traffic to flow faster. However, the drawback of this higher frequency is that the range of connectivity is much lower, meaning that the wireless companies will need to install many more access points. This issue will most likely be the cause for any possible delays to the 5G network being rolled out nationwide. Before the 5G network is fully established, it is likely that the combination of the 4G and 5G networks will be utilized to make cellular connectivity faster in the interim.
T-Mobile’s BIG 5G Plans
Currently, T-Mobile is the only American carrier, or Un-carrier as they call themselves, to attack 5G from a truly mobile front. Other companies have plans to make portable ‘pucks’ (essentially wireless hotspots) or fixed 5G routers. T-Mobile remains adamant that their approach is the only real way to bring 5G to the world. T-Mobile president and CEO, John Legere, said, “While the Duopoly focus on bragging rights, we focus on customers. T-Mobile has massively bigger plans for a truly transformative 5G experience on your smartphone nationwide. We’re playing the long game ... the only game that matters.”
The company has plans to build out their 5G network in 30 cities by the end of this year, with customers in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Las Vegas being the first ones to experience it. T-Mobile is taking a multi-spectrum route with 5G, meaning the network will run on several different wave frequencies, using the respective strengths of each to create a much faster cellular experience. They have already invested $3.5 billion in 5G and seem to have no thoughts about slowing down. Neville Ray, Chief Technical Officer, posted a recent speed test of one of their new LAA small cells and the results were amazing.
Would you look at the speed from this LAA small cell that my team in Chicago just turned on?! Simply, wow. pic.twitter.com/lkJLCQpYq0— Neville (@NevilleRay) August 16, 2018
These plans, combined with the slow start from the other major carriers, put T-Mobile in a unique position to take over the 5G wireless space and gain swaths of new customers.
Sprint / T-Mobile Merger
5G isn’t the only thing T-Mobile has been working on. A tweet from Legere confirmed their intentions to merge with Sprint to form a new company, one they hope can compete better with AT&T and Verizon.
I’m excited to announce that @TMobile & @Sprint— John Legere (@JohnLegere) April 29, 2018
have reached an agreement to come together to form a new company – a larger, stronger competitor that will be a force for positive change for all US consumers and businesses! Watch this & click through for details.
If this merger is allowed by the FCC, this $26 billion dollar deal will be huge. Not only will the landscape of the wireless industry be changed, but Sprint and its customers will join the winning team in the race for a mobile 5G experience.
Running on a combination of Sprint and T-Mobile networks, this merger may also lead to big news for TruConnect down the line. There are currently no plans for it, but if the deal were to happen, it is possible that TruConnect would be able to offer 5G to its own customers – a huge breakthrough for underserved, low-income Americans.
Unfortunately, if you want to be on the new network, you will need to buy a new phone when the network is released in a couple of years. There are a couple devices out now, like the moto z3, that are preemptively 5G compatible, but before the network is released, most big companies will have a 5G device for sale, so there is no need to rush to transfer over yet.
When to Expect It
Companies are currently investing a lot of money in 5G research and development. There is no certain date when the new network will be released, as the move from 4G to 5G will be a transitional one, but we expect the new network to be fully operational and popular sometime in the very early 2020’s. For the meantime though, continue to video chat your family and friends or stream shows and movies -- 4G isn’t so bad.
While the 5G network will be the fastest network users have ever seen, the more exciting news in terms of human’s progress in technology will be that autonomous cars, smart devices, and other such things will all thrive on 5G. We have come a long way from the first form of wireless communication, analog technology (think pagers), in such a short time. In a few decades, we went from sending small messages on pagers to video chatting people across the world. 5G is just the next chapter in the story that will do new things and do old things better.