In 2019, the telecom industry began shifting to 5G, which is based on the 5th generation of wireless communication standards. This technology uses digital cellular networks. Each covered service area is divided into small geographical areas, known as cells. Analog signals, representing images and sounds, are digitized in the telephone, converted by an analog to digital converter and transmitted as a stream of bits. 5G wireless devices in a cell communicate via radio waves with a local antenna array and a low power automated transceiver. Local antennas are connected with the telephone network and the Internet by a high bandwidth optical fiber or wireless backhaul connection.
One of the main benefits of 5G is that it can deliver data at such incredibly fast speeds, for instance, it allows you to download entire movies in a few seconds. However, this new standard requires the use of a new device, since existing phones can’t use a 5G signal. Many new devices that support the 5G wireless standard are now being developed. The cost, performance, and reach for each device will be similar to the ones used for 4G, but they’ll be able to access more carrier frequencies. There are already several 5G phones capable of gigabit speeds, but this capability varies by carrier and by city.
Current 5G Network Carriers
By the end of 2020, there will be an estimated 200 million 5G subscribers, and in five years there will be 2.8 billion 5G connections. As a result, almost every major telecom service provider is deploying antennas or intends to deploy them soon. Telecom infrastructure developers, like Ericsson and Nokia, have been working with major wireless carriers in the U.S. to build out 5G networks and test them with devices equipped with 5G radios that comply with the new standard.
5G networks can support up to a million devices per square kilometer, while 4G supports only up to 100,000 devices per square kilometer. Verizon is expecting that half the nation will have access to 5G by 2021. AT&T offers two types of 5G networks, 5G Evolution and 5G Plus, which will soon be available for use in 30 cities. T-Mobile USA also recently announced low-band 5G. 
New 5G Wireless Devices
New 5G wireless devices will have 4G LTE capability, as the new networks use 4G for initially establishing the connection with the cell, as well as in locations where 5G access isn’t available. There are several 5G-capable smartphones currently available, such as Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G and Note 10 Plus 5G. The Galaxy S10 5G is available on Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. AT&T is also carrying the phone, but only for business customers and developers. Apple is reportedly waiting until next year to go all-in with 5G. Huawei and ZTE also have 5G phones, but those are only available in other countries. 
This year, the number of 5G phones is expected to increase, mainly due to the Snapdragon 865, a newly unveiled mobile processing platform designed to work with 5G modems. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765chipset features integrated 5G. Qualcomm’s 700 series of processors can be used for less expensive phones than the flagships that will feature the Snapdragon 865, so there will be a wider variety of 5G-capable handsets this year. 
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