Is the world ready for 5G speeds?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| January 23, 2014

It seems like it was just yesterday that we were introduced to 4G speeds. 4G speeds were first introduced back in 2010 with the release of Sprint's HTC EVO 4G, which ran on a different type of 4G network than you're probably using today: WiMax. While WiMax might have been a popular 4G network had Sprint rolled it out fast enough, WiMax might still be around today. However, instead of using WiMax technology to work with cell phones, other companies decided to roll with a more cellular-compatible "4G" technology called LTE. That's the type of 4G that's likely in your phone right now.

4G is still rolling out in some places, and choppy in a lot of others. 4 years after the official induction of 4G, I still flutter in and out between 4G and 3G zones - something that I wouldn't think would happen living in a major city. While I never seem to have had a problem receiving 3G speeds wherever I go, WiMax and LTE have been completely different stories for me and my phones. I consider it a treat when I'm able to connect to LTE. Yes! It's happening! This is what I'm paying for! The very fact that I've always had spotty issues with 4G service, specifically in buildings, makes me raise an eyebrow when I hear that South Korea is getting ready to implement a 5G network.

The network probably won't be complete for about 6 years according to a report by The Economic Times. With the network being developed in South Korea, it doesn't come as any surprise that companies like Samsung, LG and Huawei will likely be ahead of the game preparing for the new network, which is said to run 1,000 times faster than current 4G speeds do now. 

... Whaaaaaaaaaat?

On the one hand I'm kind of thinking, yo; we haven't even really gotten 4G like it should be, so how are we going to go ahead and start on a 5G network? I mean, I would like a faster connection as much as anybody else, but as much as I want that I imagine that it's not going to be any easier to implement than 4G, which... we haven't really completed yet.

Or is it?

On the other hand, I'm wondering if a 5G network would be better overall. 4G is fast when you can get it, but there's still an issue with 4G being able to penetrate through buildings. Along with 5G being "1,000 faster" than 4G, I hope it will also be stronger. As in, I hope it will be able to connect to phones better than phones have been able to connect to 4G data.

But aside from connectivity issues, there's one other problem that I forsee being an issue if something isn't done about it by then: data caps. Data is already costly enough as it is, but some carriers don't even offer unlimited data plans. With 5G allegedly being able to download 1GB of data within a second, I could see this being a potential problem for people down the line. While it is a concern for data plans in their current state, I'm willing to bet that they'll have changed by the time we actually get to having 5G here in the States. 

Although it's going to be a while before we see it, it is pretty exciting to know that the technology is in development at least. I would like to see data be that fast. 

Readers, what are your thoughts on a 5G network? Do you think the world will be ready in 6 years? Are you ready for that kind of speed now? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!