When Will We See 5G?

In iPhone and iPad Articles

When it comes to technology, consumers have an almost insatiable appetite for moving forward. Sure, there are audio purists who prefer the “warmer” sound of vinyl albums to that of CDs and MP3s, and even some who'd rather watch movies on laser discs than DVDs. But the overwhelming majority of folks out there are always asking, “What's next?”

Now that a good chunk of the world is using 4G technology, it's only natural that people are asking when we'll have a 5G network available for use. Or, they ask, will we at all? In the interest of keeping on top of the latest technological trends—especially as they apply to the mobile device world—we'd like to show you the fruits of our research on this topic.

First, there are some tech wizards out there who insist what we're currently using and calling “4G” really isn't 4G at all, and that it's just an enhanced version of 3G. This article from Broadcom.com tackles that subject in more detail, but basically—whether some tech aficionados want to call it that or not—the advanced mobile networks calling themselves 4G are pretty much universally accepted as “true” 4G. So it's accepted that when a new network is developed and introduced to the public, it'll be called 5G.

Even though 4G still isn't used universally yet—there are still many countries who use 3G as their mobile standard—experts are already seeing a demand for something faster and better. The New Statesman notes the following:

By current trends, data traffic is expected to increase 1,000 fold by 2020, by which time there will be an estimated at least 50 billion Internet-capable devices. Our ever-growing love for mobile comms is a fast lane to "spectrum crunch" – we're just running out of radio space.

As a result, many insist, we need 5G. And better sooner than later. So say we, and so say we all.

All right, then. Here's the good news. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that South Korean tech giant Samsung is already making broad strides toward 5G development. There are (as of yet unsubstantiated) claims that they could carry out limited-marketing testing of 5G technology as soon as late 2013 or early 2014. If and when this technology is implemented on a large scale, it could go a long way toward relieving the broadband “spectrum crunch” we seem to be headed toward.

But there's a little bad news as well. Don't toss your 4G in the wastebasket just yet; seeing as many global markets are still catching up to 4G technology, even if 5G was introduced tomorrow it may not be available for public use for quite some time. Samsung itself is claiming a public release window of 2020 or so. That many years is a very long time in the tech world, so the chance that some other technology might come along to alleviate crowded radio waves is definitely possible. In the wake of all this speculation, Forbes took a closer look at Samsung's claims and more or less dismissed most of them as unrealistic.

So, is 5G coming? It's looking likely...but it's not gonna happen tomorrow. Steps are certainly being taken in that direction, but in the mobile device industry a lot can happen in a few years. So, stay tuned, and we'll keep you up-to-date on new developments.


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