If you’re the type of person who downloads a lot of Netflix, Disney+ or Amazon Prime videos, you could see nice improvements. We’re still in the early days of 5G, so coverage is definitely limited. Today, 5G has kicked off in selected cities around the world. Not only that, but sometimes even getting power to these units is a difficult task. However, service providers and smartphone manufacturers are going to try their best to make you believe that buying a new 5G device is worth the upgrade price—we already know that at least Samsung and HTC will have 5G-enabled smartphones launching in 2019. Because of this, we see 4G LTE smartphones remaining viable, competitive options into early 2020 (at minimum). That could be the case here.

(If you want to learn a bit more about how frequencies impact 5G, see my previous column, which explains the technology behind 5G in more detail.). The greater bandwidth means more devices can be connected to the internet. OnePlus is rumored to launch the mid-range OnePlus Z, with 5G connectivity, but not in the US. Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. Otherwise, stick with 4G LTE. The short answer for many people is that you are probably better off waiting. However, all of the carriers are committed to making those improvements over time. This means that the availability and quality of 5G is dependent on whether your network has upgraded the towers in your market—not to mention that you’ll need a 5G-compatible device as well. While 5G will be a major step forward for cellular networks and smartphones alike, the technology is still in its nascent stages.

We’re confident 5G networks and smartphones will hit their stride one day, but our honest recommendation is to avoid purchasing a new smartphone solely because it’s 5G-friendly. The company plans to reach at least 19 cities in 2019. USA TODAY columnist Bob O'Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, a market research and consulting firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. The millimeter wave (mmWave) signals, on the other hand, can offer significantly faster performance but offer a significantly smaller range (think Wi-Fi hotspot size per mmWave cell). As with the headphone jack and USB-C, they say the tech world moves with Apple. Of course the old standby of “radiation” will be a particular hot button issue, but most likely the 1996 Telecommunications Act will work with these too and disallow any local government from considering any radiation in their permitting decisions. Basically, much faster mobile networks and lower latency. The same issue happened with the launch of 4G LTE network. The sub-6 GHz signals, which use lower frequencies, travel farther and therefore offer a much wider range of coverage, which is critical for more rural parts of the country. At some point, 5G will be worth the upgrade, but it’ll take time and at least one or two iterations on the tech before it’s ready. This would be “small cell” hardware. Avoid buying a 5G device in 2019 and upgrade to a 4G LTE phone instead. 5G phones today are mostly limited to flagship devices like the Samsung Galaxy S20 phones, OnePlus 8 and the LG V50 ThinQ 5G. There is another significant problem with 5G that isn’t really discussed here. Verizon 5G is live in parts of more than 34 cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, with average speeds of around 1.4Gbps. He covers tech and gaming for LifeHacker, and has also written for Digital Trends, EGM, Business Insider, IGN, and more.


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