Newspaper article International New York Times

What 5G Networks Will Mean for You

Newspaper article International New York Times

What 5G Networks Will Mean for You

Article excerpt

Companies say that fifth-generation wireless technology will usher in ultra-fast mobile broadband, almost universal connectivity and extremely fast response times.

You may soon start hearing a lot about 5G, or the fifth generation of wireless technology. It is expected to leap ahead of current wireless technology, known as 4G, by offering mobile Internet speeds that will let people download entire movies within seconds, and may pave the way for new types of applications.

Yet many challenges lie ahead. Carriers like AT&T, telecommunications manufacturers like Nokia and tech giants like Google are all battling to define global standards that will be needed before this wireless technology becomes mainstream. These negotiations are expected to drag on until at least 2019, so 5G networks will not become widespread until well into the next decade.

That isn't stopping companies from pushing ahead with trials of this new technology. Many of these demonstrations will be on display at Mobile World Congress, a tech and telecom trade show that begins in Barcelona on Monday.

What people may see from the demos are how companies are increasingly focused on three main areas that they believe will underpin 5G networks.

Downloading movies will take seconds. Most mobile networks are already pretty fast, often reaching download speeds of more than 15 megabits per second. That lets you stream songs from Spotify, watch videos on YouTube, or quickly check Facebook messages from your smartphone. Yet under plans for 5G, carriers are likely to offer mobile Internet speeds roughly 100 times as fast as current networks. That would allow you to download high-definition moves almost instantaneously.

Such technology will not come cheap. So just as most people's cellphone bills have risen as they watch more entertainment on their mobile devices, expect operators to charge a hefty premium for these new ultrafast services. …

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