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In 2019 research showed that more than 70% of mobile phone users had not heard of 5G. Well in 2020 that is now down to 30%. Then almost none said 5G would influence the purchase of a new smartphone and that is still the case. Here is our (updated) 5G Guide.

We will get to the 5G research later – suffice to say that Telco’s and smartphone makers are spending huge marketing dollars to get you to buy one. In writing our 5G Guide we arrived at the strongest conclusion – do not purchase unless you have a genuine early-adopter, use case and you can get a strong signal.

All the marketing hype suggests that unless you go 5G (yes, at a huge cost)

  • You will suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out – being left behind)
  • Will not have the super high data speeds
  • or the security you need.

If you hark back a decade, 4G had the very same hype at its introduction. All Marketing BS.

5G Guide

GadgetGuy, a born sceptic, has run the 5G hype up the flagpole and frankly, none of it flies – let alone flaps gently in the breeze. Our brief 5G guide shows why you should not care about 5G – at least for a few more years.

GadgetGuy’s 5G Guide (updated January 2020)

5G is equal parts of marketing hype and true technology. The promise is years away.

5G is the next logical step after 4G, just as 4K was logical after 1K TV. There is nothing magic about it. 5G will do what 4G currently does – only faster.  At this stage 5G for consumers is all about getting you to buy more expensive 5G handsets and commit to higher-value data plans for NO EXTRA benefit.

Repeat – 5G in a consumer sense is about reviving flagging smartphone sales. And that did not work at all well.

For 99.9% of the world 3G or 4G are just fine thanks and 4G is not going anywhere for at least the next decade. Maybe in 3-5 years, 5G may have some verifiable consumer use cases when its coverage is better, and its prices are lower.

What is 5G – let’s get techy?

Phone tech
5G just does it faster!

In Australia, 5G will eventually transmit and receive on two bands. Initially, it is the slower low-band known as sub-6GHz. The faster high-band or mmWave (24.25–100GHz) – never used for Internet and communications technology here – will not be auctioned until later in 2021.

As yet there is no legislation to define the use of this spectrum, so no Telco has purchased bandwidth. And it is likely for use for commercial and special use cases – not consumers.

All bands perform at different speeds and latencies. Sub-6GHz is only marginally faster than 4GX Cat 9. mmWave is much faster but much easier to disrupt. 5G health questions – well it will not fry you brain – it is safe.

5G Guide

Fact: The current main 5G modems sold in Australia are the Qualcomm X50, and Samsung Exynos that only support sub-6GHz in NSA mode – not the mmWave high-band or SA mode that is the future of 5G.

At this stage, no phone supports both sub-6Ghz and mmWave.

We won’t go into the intricacies of NSA (non-standalone) SA (standalone) modes, but current Australian modems only support NSA (meaning uses 4G infrastructure – 4G on Viagra). Yet another reason to wait.