5G Explainer: The Hype, Impact, and Importance

Over the past several years, 5G has gone from an industry buzzword with a lot of hype surrounding it to actual deployment and implementation in our lives. As the next generation of wireless technology continues to unfold, carriers and device manufacturers have poured in millions of dollars to enable faster networking speeds for consumers. However, 5G is still in its infancy and questions still remain for many: What is 5G? How will it impact my daily life? Where can I get 5G connectivity? Should I buy a 5G smartphone? Let’s break down these questions to explain what 5G is and the importance of it.

Each step in wireless technology — from 2G to 3G to 4G — introduced new ways to communicate due to the increased networking speeds it enabled on mobile devices. 2G provided voice calling and text messaging. 3G, which provided up to 42 Mbps, enabled mobile internet browsing and video calling. 4G, which increased speeds up to 1 Gbps, saw the advent of mobile applications that provided new ways to game, communicate, and stream entertainment. 5G will increase speeds up to 10 Gbps or tenfold, and deliver significant mobile connectivity that will drastically impact not only how consumers utilize mobile devices but also impact nearly every industry in the world.

How will 5G impact my daily life?

5G will ultimately pave the way for more immersive applications and experiences on a smartphone that have yet to be conceived. In current applications, with speeds up to 10 Gbps, downloading large files, such as movies in HD and shows on your favorite streaming services, will happen in mere seconds, versus minutes or hours on a 4G network. Additionally, playing high-intensive mobile gaming applications such as PUBG Mobile or League of Legends: Wild Rift will be smooth, without buffering, and provide an overall faster experience. The lower latency makes all the difference between landing your skill shot and sitting in respawn. 5G will impact how we utilize our devices today but also so much more in our daily life.

Where can I get 5G speeds?

Carriers in the U.S. are building out their 5G networks, but it’s a process that will take several years before the vast majority of consumers are covered. It’s not as easy as flipping a switch as new hardware needs to be deployed across the US, consumer devices need to be 5G compatible and more.

However, deployment is ramping up significantly and has for the past couple of years. T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G network now covers 80% of Americans and is just a few years away from their goal to provide 5G to 99% of consumers. Verizon’s nationwide 5G coverage reaches 230 million consumers and AT&T continues to increase 5G coverage as well. So, while each carrier is taking a somewhat different approach in building out their network, coverage across the U.S. continues to improve every day.

Should I buy a 5G smartphone?

5G coverage is ever so quickly expanding across the U.S. from all three major carriers, and for a majority of consumers, it’s not a question of “if” they will be covered but “when”. Currently, the average consumer keeps their smartphone between two to three years, so if you’re in the process of purchasing a smartphone, ensuring 5G connectivity is important to future-proof your device.

2021 has seen the cost of 5G-enabled devices become more affordable. In January, we launched the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, the most affordable premium smartphone with 5G connectivity for under $300. And now, we’ve pushed the limits even further by launching the OnePlus Nord N200 5G, the most affordable 5G connected smartphone starting at under $250. We continue to push the boundaries in providing affordable premium smartphones that live up to our ‘Never Settle’ mantra while pursuing our mission of sharing the best technology with the world.

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