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Get up to speed – 5G is coming

Get up to speed – 5G is coming

What is 5G?
5G is the fifth-generation mobile network. It's what you'll use to make calls, send texts and browse the internet when you're on the move, or not on WiFi. At the moment you probably use either 4G, 3G or Edge, but 5G is set to deliver blistering speeds as well as game-changing dependability.

Holly Niblett
From the Digital team
minute read
posted 26 NOVEMBER 2019

When can I get 5G on my phone?

The UK is currently readying itself for 5G, with infrastructure plans in full swing and network carriers keen to get involved in the roll out. The word on the street is that we're now very close, with 2020 the probable launch date.

You'll need a new 5G ready phone, so when 5G lands check back here to see what great deals are out there.

Of course, it won't just be your phone you can connect – all sorts of smart tech devices for the home and workplace are set to be transformed by the power of 5G.

How much faster is 5G?

It's rapid. This won't just be a small improvement to 4G. We're talking almost instant HD movie downloads, lightning quick and seamless web browsing, Facetiming, gaming - you name it. All while you're on the move.

Will I be able to get 5G anywhere in the UK?

No. In the future it may be possible, but right now, like 4G, there some blackspots where reception is patchy at best or not there at all. That won't be solved entirely for some time. As you probably know, 4G can come and go even in big cities.

The good news is that 5G doesn't slow down even if there are loads of people using the same app in the same place, thanks to its improved capacity. At the moment, even with 4G you may experience a lag or a decrease in service. With 5G, the reliability is so superior that experts believe it will be trusted for all sorts of initiatives, like autonomous cars and virtual reality medical treatment.

What else can 5G be used for?

The possibilities really do seem endless – in fact, we probably don't yet know the full range of benefits, products and spin-off industries 5G will bring us.

We can make some predictions, though. The internet of things (like smart fridges, sat nav and home lighting systems) rely on stable connections and fast connectivity, so expect to find yourself increasingly drawn to this burgeoning technology. 5G might even replace home WiFi for reliability and speed, or at least be a fantastic back up system for your home WiFi. (WiFi is likely to remain a cheaper option for a while to come though). But if you're unhappy with the reliability of your current broadband supplier, it's worth comparing suppliers. Compare Broadband.

5G enthusiasts and network operators who have already started testing 5G abroad, and in the UK, consider it a revolution, with huge knock-on benefits to wider society, such as remote medical procedures, self-driving cars, smart bins, and even holographic video or augmented reality in the entertainment space. See our guide to network operators.

What happens next?

There are still some things for network providers and the government to sort out, but you can check back here for updates as we learn more. As 2020 gets closer you'll be hearing a lot more about 5G and what you'll be able to do with it.

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