5G or not 5G – that is the question…

By | January 4, 2021

Happy New Year everyone – I hope you all enjoyed the festive season (strange as it was this year!)

With it being the New Year, I thought it would be a good time to tell you all about some new(ish) technology that I’ve been studiously avoiding thus far.  Ladies and gentlemen, the time has come to talk about 5G.

You’ve probably heard of it – hard to avoid really – but what exactly is it?

“5G” is short for “5th Generation”, and it’s just the newest type of mobile internet connection.  This type of connection lets you use your mobile phone on the internet without WiFi – directly through the mobile phone signal.

Of course, you can already do that now using “3G” and “4G” mobile internet.  The only real difference with 5G is that it’s faster.  Up to 100 times faster than 4G, in fact.  It gives you the sort of connection speed that you might be used to with home broadband (although that’s constantly getting faster too!).

So why have I not mentioned it before?  After all, you’ve been able to get “5G ready” phones for well over a year now.  Well, the trouble was, that was all they were – “ready”.  There wasn’t actually a 5G network to use them on.

But now there is.

Over the last year or so, the four main mobile phone providers – EE, O2, Vodafone and Three –  have been quietly and gradually rolling out 5G across the country.  (When people weren’t setting fire to the masts, that is!  Don’t get me started…)

EE has the biggest 5G network at the moment, covering 112 major cities and towns across the UK.  But O2 and the others aren’t too far behind.  If you live out in the sticks, you might be waiting quite a long time for it to reach you – but then you’ll probably be used to that…

So, the upshot is, if you live in a decent-sized town and you’re on the look out for a new smartphone, it’s now well worth considering a 5G one.  Obviously, only if you use (or would like to use) mobile internet – otherwise, don’t bother.

If you’re an Apple fan, the newest model of iPhone – the iPhone 12 – works on 5G.  But it is eye-wateringly expensive, starting at £699 for just the phone.  There have been Android 5G models for a while now, though, and the prices of those are starting to come down.

You can check whether your current phone is 5G-ready, and whether you can get 5G coverage where you are, by going to the network providers’ websites.

That’s all from me for this week.

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