Friday, January 12, 2018

Verizon and AT&T Both Plan to Introduce 5G Internet This Year

It's only been about 20 years since cell phones started to become popular among the common person. At around the same time, the internet became a commodity many people had in their homes. Yet, even though the history of both technologies is so recent, you would be hard-pressed to walk down any street in this day and age and not see someone surfing the internet from their cell phone. Smartphones have pervaded our society, providing entertainment, convenience, and connectivity to pretty much everyone around the country. According to David Lazarus's L.A. Times article, the newest update, 5G wireless, is coming soon.

In Las Vegas this week, there was a huge tech show called CES (which used to stand for Consumer Electronics Show). Many new electronic devices were debuted to the public for the first time. From fitness wearables to computers, tablets, and smartphones, the latest in tech was there for visitors to check out. One of the main innovations that is drawing major interest is that of the newest level of high-speed wireless internet: 5G. Both AT&T and Verizon Wireless, two of the top mobile phone providers in the world, have announced that they will be making 5G mobile internet available in several major cities, including Sacramento, before the end of the year.

For people who download or stream a lot of material on their phone, 5G seems like it will be exactly what they need. The 5G connections are expected to be much faster than the current standard 4G ones, and the connections will be far more reliable and less prone to lag. On the other hand, there are also some downsides to the faster connection. It is probable that the 5G connectivity will require that the user purchase a new phone, one that is designed specifically to use 5G. Additionally, the monthly cell phone bill will probably be significantly higher, and analysts believe that most average users won't need so much speed anyway.

Currently, mainly users who play a lot of high-bandwidth games or those who download large, high-definition movie would benefit the most from a 5G connection, but technologists expect that developers will rise to the occasion. Once 5G becomes commonplace, 4K video streaming, driverless vehicles, and immersive virtual reality are likely to follow quickly. 5G could unlock untold innovations of the future. Unfortunately, that path is likely to be expensive. Economic analysts expect the development of 5G to cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and those costs will be pushed onto the consumer with higher cell phone plan costs, but to many, the better internet connection is well worth a higher bill each month.

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