What is 4G LTE?
I find the lettered acronyms surrounding the mobile phone industry to be intimidating. Maybe just a little. I suppose that is because I’m still in the stage of using my phone primarily as… a phone! So the idea of downloading videos, or watching live-stream, or listening to online radio, is not what fills my mind with sugar plumbs at night. So when I ask Google, “What does LTE mean?” it is not an idle question. I’ve looked it up before, but it is not one of those needful bits of information that I’m prone to remember. Until it is time to write an article on 5G. So here’s what I found:
4G was made to replace 3G and it offers a connection that is more reliable and delivers much higher speeds. Specifically, 4G LTE means “fourth-generation long term evolution,” with LTE being a type of 4G that delivers the fastest connection for a mobile internet experience – up to 10 times faster than 3G. Jun 28, 2018
The first thing to note is that this information is getting very close to being 1 year old. In terms of technology, the 9 months that have passed since Google posted that answer has been sufficient time for 5G to stand on the brink of reality. Yes. I’m saying that 2019 apparently is the year when 5G networks will really roll out the stuff that will make 4G old. But not quite.
In the Upgrade Market
For example, my trusty Motorola Z, of the Android variety, suffered a strategic blow to the camera lens, breaking it. So I am in the market for an upgrade. When I searched for phones with 5G, they all said, “Coming soon.” Which I think is very close to, “We don’t have them yet.”
The successor to my Motorola Z has a Mod, a modular attachment, that will enable the smart phone to be smart enough to take advantage of 5G when it arrives so I won’t have purchased my phone and then need an upgrade later. Most inconvenient. But other phone sellers said, “Would you like to be on the list?” That is, they’ll let you know the moment 5G is available so you can make a determined decision.
As I said, I probably am not a heavy enough user to benefit from 5G. Or am I? These 9 Reasons 5G Matters, may just prove my indifference to be misplaced. What about you?
1-2019 is the Year!
You should pay attention to 5G announcements because it is happening soon. That’s the first reason 5G matters to you. You definitely do not want to fall behind any wave of technological advance, because you may well reach a point where the people around you are speaking a language you do not understand. And you know how embarrassing that can be!
2-Enhanced Customer Experience
Steve Jobs first mouthed those wonderful words that have been the guide for all others, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back to the technology.” Which he fulfilled to the letter. There’s no doubt that Apple presents to customers an image of an amazing experience. Those who are Apple Aficionados give enthusiastic thumbs up. And thumbs to the keyboard as well.
3-Sharing the Power
Approximately 97% of United States’ land area belongs to rural counties, and roughly 19.3% (60 million) people reside in these areas. Those who live in the bandwidth of Greater Los Angeles wide-area-network have an exceptional experience of connectivity. Coverage exists just about everywhere. Connectivity is speedy. At least relatively speedy. Now if you travel, you may find that both coverage and connectivity are less than desirable. People who do not live in or near a metropolis experience difficulty getting a signal and keeping it more often than not. City dwellers do not disdain those in the rural areas where signal is iffy. They don’t even pity them. They just don’t think about it at all. 5G will benefit a much broader area. Some have called this “closing the geographic digital divide.” Including all the people in an effort to democratize the experience of connectivity will be of benefit to those rural and those city.
4-Coping with Doubling Data
Not only will 5G be able to cope with more people connecting at the same time, it will be able to handle the data as well.Mobile data traffic is said to double every 12-17 months. The more a user is able to access, the more they feel the need to access. And if the capacity is there, there will be businesses who will develop new programs or services that will stand on greater data availability.Other tech firms will try to run competition in movie streaming and gaming. 5G also provides the backdrop for people groups like sporting events, music festivals or work/school campuses.
5-Speed When You Need
5G is mostly touted as being faster than 4G. Was 4G 10 times faster than 3G? 5G is 100 times faster than 4G. Big difference. One way that speed translates into a more ubiquitous experience is that even without access to a cable solution, the over-the-air Internet speeds to homes and workplaces will provide flexibility and accessibility that is difficult to imagine without the actual experience. 4G has worked just fine for me. Why complain?! But if 5G speed strengthens mobile networks so that they can reach places they couldn’t before, then 5G matters!
I remember hearing a speaker describe a prime activity of the people in Boring, Oregon, as watching paint dry. Well they’ve upgraded. Now it is, “waiting for a download.” Go get some coffee. This download is going to take some time. Better would be 5G speed that is closer to “real-time” than your 4G experience. But enough of words. You really need to experience it. The people at Wall Street Journal have helped us with the obvious problem of experiencing what isn’t yet available. They have a clever simulation that shows just how quick 5G is in comparison to 4G and 3G. [You need a WSJ subscription to view the simulation.] Often, the 5G completes tasks in a blur of speed with the eye distracted by the ongoing time measurement of 3G plugging along. For hours!
7-Benefits for Businesses
Data density is another attribute of the 5G experience. The greater capacity of the new network to handle large amounts of data quickly, regardless the demand, is very attractive to application developers and the businesses who use these online resources. With the onset of 5G we can anticipate a growth in high-demand applications which depend on instantaneous exchange of data. One good example of that is automated driving. Each car equipped with an automated driving device needs to rapidly evaluate the other vehicles and objects within range of itself. A challenge when cars move faster than a mile a minute. With significantly lower latency, data can be received and processed timely so that the appropriate response is provided while it is still helpful. Other industries will likely emerge that will also build on quick response even when data is dense.
8-Businesses Benefit to Consumers
Those businesses who plug into the benefits of 5G will be able to provide better service to their customers, service not currently possible and new services not even offered. Faster response means less waiting. The bottom line benefit in terms of consumer dollars spent could be as high as $12.3 trillion worth of goods and services by 2035 according to a study by Qualcomm. Beyond dollars spent there will be a need for people in new jobs, as many as 22 million.
9-Public Service Sector
Emergency services would be an obvious area of benefit due to greater connectivity and quicker response. But so would policing agencies and health care. Remote diagnosis and patient monitoring would benefit, AI providing real-time information whether for criminal offenders or CCTV footage access, or critical consulting for the ill and infirm, would benefit.
Yes, I know. This is #10, not 9. But that’s just how great 5G is! Extra benefit. Value added. And it is a big bonus at that. With less time spent downloading, the drain on battery use will be reduced remarkably. I vaguely remember the struggle to make 4G work. Battery was one of the issues. Not so, this time says Verizon CEO, Lowell McAdam.
By the way, in an IoT setting, 5G will have 10-year battery life. And we expect that in a mobile phone environment, you’ll probably charge your phone once a month.
The other potential upside to better battery life is that the big companies may extend unlimited data plans to 5G. Which I suppose also means they might not. And that would be a big disappointment.
Pure Technological Excitement
This is what happens when you watch the video below by CNBC explaining 5G. Suddenly the ephemeral becomes exciting! Watch the video while you are waiting for 5G to happen. It’s that fast! Almost…