5G technology has the potential to be the next big thing that changes how we communicate, work, and live. The current strongest type of mobile data, 4G LTE, has made possible many online activities that we never could have done from cell phones and tablets a decade ago, but we are beginning to reach its limitations. Investing in 5G gives you the opportunity to be a part of creating a faster, stronger type of data — one that is quickly emerging as the likely most common method of accessing the internet within the next few years.
What Is 5G Technology?
5G technology is the latest type of mobile data, and expands upon the range, speed, and other capabilities of 4G LTE data and earlier types of mobile internet. Here’s what you need to know about it:
- It is considered the “next generation wireless technology.”
- This emerging type of data has the bandwidth to handle more phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices than earlier networks without slowing down.
- This has the potential to lead to not only more efficient versions of these devices, but also expand upon the creation of new internet-based devices.
- It also might further increase the prominence of the internet in our daily lives.
The technology differs from 4G LTE because it utilizes a different type of radio frequency. Three types of 5G networks are expected to be widely available in the near future, and the type you are most likely to use early depends on what your carrier specializes in. Many major carriers are expected to expand the types of 5G technology they offer over time as more cities install the proper equipment, however, which will significantly increase your options in the future.
The three networks include:
Low-band networks come the closest to the type of technology currently used to support 4G LTE data. This version of 5G is only about 20% faster than 4G in many areas, but is more reliable than more advanced versions and currently offers the widest coverage to introduce 5G capabilities into more areas.
High-band networks offer the fastest speeds, but coverage is much more limited than that of low-band networks. These frequencies struggle to travel very far, especially through walls and other solid surfaces, which means they may not be the most efficient type in cities at this time.
Mid-band networks combine the major selling points of low- and high-band networks. They are generally faster than low-band and more widespread than high-band, which may make them the most attractive among users who are interested in being the first to try new technology on a regular basis. Mid-band networks are currently only offered by T-Mobile, which recently merged with Sprint, however.
Prioritizing access to the overall strongest type, as well as combining the best features of both carriers, is likely to make T-Mobile a forerunner in the growth of 5G technology over the next several years.
Growth of 5G Technology
Although early versions of 5G networks began to reach major cities in 2018, the technology has not yet reached widespread use. That being said, it is quickly increasing coverage across the United States and around the world, and is nearing the point of being ready for regular use by everyday people. A few things to keep in mind:
- Several countries are competing to be among the first to reach countrywide 5G capabilities.
- Most major carriers in the U.S. are in the final stages of fine-tuning how they will support and market what sets 5G Technology apart from earlier types of mobile data.
- With this in mind, most new phones have begun to come equipped to run on 5G, especially those released in the last few months or announced but not yet released.
- Many of this year’s most popular releases — such as the iPhone 12 line, the Google Pixel 4a 5G and Google Pixel 5, and the newest Samsung Galaxy phones — were designed to be used on 5G networks.
- Many major carriers have also begun to release details about their new plans that will include 5G data.
Given the tendency of Apple and other major technology companies to release new products exceptionally quickly in recent years, it is reasonable to assume that even these brand-new phones may be replaced by newer models within the next year or so. This indicates that these companies are anticipating the potential for significant 5G technology growth in the near future.
Also, the next generation of compatible phones is likely to address possible issues that may come up in the early months of widespread 5G usage, plus further expand upon the speed and capabilities of the current new releases.
2 Advantages of 5G Technology
Although there are several factors that make 5G technology a stronger option than 4G LTE, the speed and bandwidth of this type of network are among the most lucrative.
Speed is the main selling point of 5G. Although waiting quite some time for pages to load was the norm not so long ago, reliance on the internet has led to load times of more than a few seconds causing irritation. Low-band networks offer a smaller edge over 4G LTE than you might expect at this time, as they are just 20% faster than 4G. The best 5G networks can be up to 100 times faster, however, and have the potential to become even faster over time.
Increased bandwidth is another major advantage of 5G. Even the best 4G networks only support a certain amount, which means that watching videos, streaming music, using video conferencing platforms, and similar activities on public networks can be difficult, especially if a large number of devices are trying to do so at once.
Streaming often lags in coffee shops, libraries, airports, and other public spaces, and low bandwidth can also slow down other uses. Some public networks even block access to such services to preserve bandwidth for other users, but 5G is much better-equipped to handle these uses for more devices at a time.
Disadvantages and Potential Risks of 5G Technology
Although the speed and bandwidth contribute greatly toward increasing interest in choosing a carrier and phone that support 5G, the technology does come with potential drawbacks. Like any new product, not everything is known yet about the overall safety of 5G and whether it may come with negative effects that could outweigh the benefits.
Here’s a look at two of the concerns:
Increased usage and amounts of data creates a higher risk of loss in the event of a cyberattack, data breach, or other online security issue. The boosted vulnerability of our finances, devices, location, work or school data, and other sensitive information means the limitations of current cybersecurity measures will also need to grow quickly to keep up with the demands of 5G.
5G technology may also raise more health concerns than earlier types of mobile data. Early cell towers, Wi-Fi, data back to 2G, and even cell phones initially raised questions around the safety of the radiation that these waves emit, but most have been studied in depth and are now shown to present little to no risk. 5G emits more and stronger radiation than previous technologies, though, which raises concerns as to how it may affect cell growth, immunity, and even our DNA.
Because widespread use of 5G Technology will mean that there is no way to avoid exposure in most parts of the world, these effects will need to continue to be studied over time to identify aspects that may need to be modified or no longer used.
Investing in 5G Technology
Although the current capabilities of 5G are quite promising, it still has a long way to go before it can be reasonably expected to fully replace 4G LTE. Incomplete infrastructure that limits access to 5G signals, concerns regarding health and data security, and other “growing pains” of launching a new type means much more research, manufacturing, and other work still needs to be done before 5G can reach its full potential.
You have several options for investing in 5G technology. The most common is purchasing these companies’ stocks, but you can also invest in mutual funds, real estate investment trusts, and ETFs in companies in fields more indirectly related to the most obvious companies.
At Option3Ventures, we are proud to connect investors to the best opportunities to impact the way that we use technology. Creating new technologies and ways to improve cybersecurity to protect them will be more important than ever in the coming years, and we are here to make it happen. Contact us today to learn more about how to invest in 5G.