My buddy Mike over at MikedUp Blog asked if I’d contribute an article to his new series “Current Events Fridays,” which takes a dive into a topic that is relevant and useful (even if it isn’t about money) in less than 500 words. I mayyyyybeee didn’t quite wrap up in 500 words, but we’ll blame the Michael Scott GIFs for taking up the extra space.
What is 5G? When is it happening? Should I even care? Will robots finally take over? All of these questions and more are answered, so check out the guest post, get a working definition of what’s to come, then report back here to go over a few additional thoughts I had on the topic.
OK, did you read it?
Omg hi, welcome back.
So 5G will essentially be 4G on speed, enhancing all existing uses but with improved speed and capabilities across the board. It’s built to keep up with a world that depends on internet connectivity.
But did you catch that one nugget in the guest post about needing a 5G-compatible device in order to reap the benefits of 5G? That leads to an obvious question:
Do I have to get a new smartphone?
If you ever want to get me going on a rant for a minimum of five to seven minutes, ask me how I feel about how Apple has made the iPhone super sleezy. I HATE that they intentionally design software updates that make older smartphone models slow down to the point of being worthless, and that they charge for extra storage. (It’s a $700 phone???? Idk? FIND SOME ROOM???!?!?!)
But, as I mentioned in my article on Mike’s site, the shift to 5G is not just another one of those pointless upgrades that often occur in the tech world. For better or worse (probably worse), our world is increasingly dependent on connectivity. And 5G will pack a major punch in spaces like medical robotics, autonomous driving, and other major industries. And for us, well, our Instagram Stories won’t ever buffer on the go. Praise.
You have to get a new smartphone to enjoy 5G when it does become widely available.
But like, do I have to?
So, your 4G LTE network won’t just wither and die when 5G rolls out. You can keep your current phone and go about your merry way, but you can’t expect to tap into a 5G network with it.
And that’s fine with me (says the girl holding an iPhone 6S, and who had to ask her husband if it was a 6 cause she wasn’t even really sure, nor did she care).
Besides, 5G likely won’t be available everywhere until the end of 2019/mid-2020 anyway, so just hold your horses. Whenever you do drop your phone in a pool or accidentally wash it (you know who you are ;), you can just upgrade it then.
Save your money and only upgrade when you have to is my official advice. Save your money, then upgrade KICKING AND SCREAMING at the absolute last possible second, because dealing with phone companies is the living worst and should be avoided at nearly all costs is my unofficial advice.
Whaddup with AT&T saying 5G is available?
At the end of 2018, AT&T launched is “5G Evolution” — which is, to be QUITE clear, not 5G at all. Android Central puts it like this:
But there's a problem: these technologies are not 5G, nor are they in any way related to 5G. They are 4G LTE. AT&T's "5G Evolution" network has been around for over 18 months, steadily expanding LTE speeds nationwide — and to its credit, these network upgrades are entirely useful and necessary even as we transition to 5G. LTE will continue to be the backbone of carriers' networks for years to come. But again, they are not 5G
It’s shady at best, misleading at worst.
When a carrier connects to ”5G E”, it simply means they are using an improved 4G LTE network.
It’s marketing. It’s ALL marketing.
Because while AT&T has launched a real 5G network, they have not created a 5G-compatible device yet. I repeat: It’s marketing bologna.
It’s speculated that Apple won’t attempt to release a 5G phone until 2020, if that’s any indication.
This whole article reminds me why I want to bury my money in the backyard and say sayonara to modern society.
On that note… let me know in the comments if you have any thoughts on this. Excited for faster speeds? Annoyed at the idea of getting a new phone? Holler.