But honestly, at this point I’m not sure why anyone would actually want a 5G phone.
They cost more than other phones. You’ll pay more for wireless service. And odds are you won’t really make use of the additional speed, reduced latency, or improved bandwidth that are the key new features that come with 5G.
Right now 5G seems most exciting for Internet of Things applications — it’ll allow billions of new devices to connect to the internet and stay online all the time. It would be hard to imagine a world where self-driving cars really live up to their potential without some major changes to the wireless networks of the world.
Once the next-gen networks are ubiquitous, it’s likely that all smartphones will ship with 5G modems, as will many notebooks, tablets, and other devices that are currently available with optional support for 4G LTE networks.
But today 5G isn’t even available in most of the world yet, and carriers that are offering the service will default to 4G or slower networks when you leave a 5G coverage area.
And for the foreseeable future, 5G is a premium add-on. Verizon says customers can access its 5G network for $10 per month on top of what they’re already paying for unlimited 4G access. And the company is selling the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G for $1300 and up. That’s $400 more than the price for a standard Galaxy S10.
To be fair, the 5G model has a bigger screen, more storage, a fancier camera system, and faster fast charging than the non-5G version of Samsung Galaxy S10. But it seems indicative of a trend — 5G is very much a premium feature aimed at early adopters who are willing to pay for expensive gear.
Meanwhile, Verizon says its 4G network already offers peak download speeds up to 50 Mbps, with average speeds in the 5 – 12 Mbps range, and that seems to be borne out by independent testing. Sure, faster is better — but those speeds are more than good enough for streaming music, movies, and even multiplayer games on a phone or tablet in 2019.
So… are you ready to jump on the 5G bandwagon, or are you taking a wait-and-see approach?