By now, you’ve probably heard mention of 5G. Short for fifth generation, 5G promises a huge range of possibilities to individuals and businesses alike. From higher speeds to low latency and increased bandwidth capabilities.
But before we understand how it will make history, we need to understand - what exactly is it, and how did it come about?
"It is important that we know where we come from, because if you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, you don't know where you're going. And if you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong." – Terry Pratchett
To better appreciate where we’re currently at and understand the direction we’re heading towards, we need to understand our past. So, let’s take a moment to understand the previous generations of mobile technology.
Before mobile phones, there were bulky wireless telephone systems. As the precursor to 1G mobile phones, they are commonly referred to as ‘zero generation’ or 0G. Tracing their origins to the 1970s, these systems were either mounted in cars or stored in briefcases - and yes, they were quite the load if you had to carry them around.
The first generation of mobile phone technology. Launched in the 1980s, 1G was used only to make analogue phone calls. Like the 0G network, these were also very bulky. Initially made only for use in cars, it’s no surprise why they were referred to as ‘car phones.’
The first digital iteration of mobile technology, 2G offered digitally encrypted phone calls and introduced mobile data services including SMS, picture messaging and Multimedia Messages (MMS). Across the globe, the 2G network was launched on either GSM (Group Special Mobile) or CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) standards in the early 1990s.
2.5G provided an update to 2G, introducing GPRS (General Packet Radio Server) which enabled users to use WAP (Wireless Access Protocol) to surf the internet on their phones via mobile networks, though connection speeds were frustratingly slow.
Another interim update between 2G and its 3G successor, 2.75G introduced an extension of GSM, Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE). It enabled faster transmission of data and information than the original 2G.
The third generation of mobile network technology was released in the late 1990s and delivered an information transfer rate of up to 144 kilobits per second. Given the faster data transfer rates on the 3G network, video calls were made possible, and multimedia services like streaming became common.
In the mid-2000s, a few years after the release of 3G, there was an evolution in network speed. The HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) increased data transmission speeds from the original 144 kbit/s to a then incredible 8-10 megabits per second (Mbps). This also paved the way for products like mobile modems, providing internet access on laptops.
The second stage of HSPA updates was introduced with 3.75G in the form of HSUPA (High Speed Uplink Packet Access), which provided better access to higher data speeds, allowing peer-to-peer gaming, video calls and clearer audio and video streaming.
And now we come to 4G. If 3G allowed movie downloads in 30 minutes, with 4G you could do it in under 4 minutes – great for Netflix and mobile gamers. 10 times faster than 3G services, fourth generation wireless mobile phone network technology is one we’re sure you’re very familiar with since its commercial launch in 2009.
In addition to the features that became available with 3G, 4G also provided mobile broadband internet connection to smartphones and laptops with wireless modems.
With 3G slowly being phased out, the technology behind 4G, LTE (Long Term Evolution), is constantly being upgraded. From LTE-A and LTE-Advanced to LTE+, technology for cellular communications is now so advanced that gaps in the network are filled seamlessly with faster, more stable, and higher bandwidth.
How have you benefited from this advancement? Less buffering and faster downloads!
The final phase of 4G and the stepping-stone to 5G is what’s known as 4.5G or 4G LTE Advanced Pro. It includes quite a few technologies that are seen in 5G technologies today.
There is currently an ongoing global effort to roll out 5G technology. Believed to be faster than any previous mobile generation, it comes as no surprise that this advancement is more than a mere buzzword. In Singapore, it has been stated that at least half of the country will have 5G coverage by the end of 2022.
And what can we expect? The update from 4G to 5G will see a massive increase in data speeds, bandwidth and a drastic reduction in latency.
Currently, the 4G network is getting increasingly crowded with more users attempting to share an already packed space. Which is why a new standard and technology is necessary. Using a different spectrum from 4G-LTE, the 5G network achieves significant speeds through higher frequency radio waves. Ten times faster than 4G but still in its infancy, it has a greater capacity for higher traffic volumes.
With the continued rollout of this new technology around the world, we’re going to see some very interesting changes thanks to the benefits it will bring.
There are three crucial ways in which 5G technology will have a positive impact on our daily lives. These are:
Impressive. That is the theoretical speed of 5G. Potentially between 1Gbps and 10Gbps, you’ll be looking at speeds up to 10 times faster than 4G. This paves the way for 4K video streaming without buffering issues, ultra-fast downloading and so much more.
2. Low latency
The introduction of 5G is expected to drop latency down to 1 millisecond. If you’re not too clear on what that means, latency refers to the time needed for data to travel from one place to another.
The lower latency means you can finally say goodbye to lags when you’re gaming, using video chat, or watching a live event.
Further real-world benefits of minimal latency include everything from real-time outpatient health tracking (with instantaneous responses to health issues), self-driving vehicles, infrastructure improvements, remote control of heavy machinery, and many more.
3. Greater bandwidth
Think of mobile networks as a freeway, and each individual’s connection to that network as a vehicle. That’s essentially what bandwidth is. Eventually, because so many vehicles are using the freeway, there’ll be traffic jams. This will create problems such as slower data speeds and spotty phone calls. The 5G network will give access to much higher bandwidth, allowing for a lot more devices to be connected with little to no disruptions whatsoever.
Although a relatively new roll-out, 5G has already garnered massive attention due to these three benefits. As leaders and local netizens continue to speculate what else this new technology will bring, what it currently offers is enough to impact our day to day lives.
There are a few questions that seem to come up again and again at the mention of 5G technology. Here are some of the more common ones we’ve encountered:
1. Why is 5G so exciting?
It has the potential to completely change the way we do things in our daily lives thanks to its exponential speeds, increased bandwidth, and low latency. 5G is expected to enable a fully mobile and connected society — yes; it seems incredulous, but 5G may make us more connected than we already are. From connecting appliances like refrigerators to others in your smart home, to the possibility of train platforms notifying you of the number of empty seats in each carriage, there is much to look forward to.
2. Can my current phone connect to 5G?
If you have a 5G compatible mobile phone, it will have the ability to connect to the 5G network. If you’re unsure whether your phone is 5G-enabled, you can search the model on Google and read through its specs. We’ve also provided a list of 5G compatible phones in this article if you’re thinking of getting one.
3. Can my 5G phone connect to the 4G network?
You can rest assured that if you have a 5G compatible mobile phone, you can still use it without any issues on the 4G network while the rollout of 5G takes place.
In Singapore, the 5G network is currently being rolled out at an incredible rate, with the aim to have it available to over half the country by end 2022, and to the entire country by 2025. In the meantime, plenty of locations around Singapore, such as the city-centre, have access to 5G - provided you have the right setup.
To enjoy 5G, you’ll need a mobile plan which grants you access the 5G network. You can contact your current mobile network provider to check if they provide the service; often you’ll need to sign up with them for a couple of years, though with M1 you can simply add-on a 5G Booster pack to your existing plan.
You’ll also need to look at getting yourself a new 5G-compatible mobile phone if you haven’t already got one.
There are many handsets to choose from that are ready to connect to the 5G network, so you can stick to your preferred brand.
If you’re a fan of Samsung, your options include:
– The Galaxy S10, S20 and S21 5G series
– Galaxy Note10 and Note20 5G series
– Galaxy Fold/Z Fold2 5G
– Galaxy Z Flip 5G
– Galaxy A32/4251/71/90
Apple users can consider the iPhone 12 series which has 5G capabilities.
Model variants include:
– iPhone 12
– iPhone 12 Mini
– iPhone 12 Pro
– iPhone 12 Pro Max
HUAWEI lovers, you’re not excluded from 5G compatible phones either! Here
are your choices:
– P40 series
– Mate40 series
– Nova 7SE
– Mate X/Xs
And let’s not forget the Xiaomi buffs:
– Mi 11
– Mi 10i 5G
– Mi 10T 5G series
– Mi 10 5G series
– Mi 9 Pro 5G
– Mi Mix 3 5G
There are also several other brands that have recently introduced 5G compatible handsets such as OPPO, OnePlus, Google and more. Discover all the 5G compatible mobile phones available at M1 for amazing prices by browsing our latest handsets and 5G mobile deals.
If you want to experience supercharged mobile network speeds, seamless peer-to-peer mobile gaming experiences, video streaming free from buffering and more, get on board the best 5G network in three simple steps with M1:
1. Choose the 5G compatible mobile phone you want
Browse through the phones that come with 5G compatibility and pick the one that best aligns with your needs. With M1, you’ll find a range of the latest model handsets. From just $0 upfront, and with monthly repayments over 12, 18, 24 or 36 months with the Bespoke Flexi Plan, you can get the phone of your dreams.
2. Build your own personalised Bespoke Flexi Plan
With the Bespoke Flexi Plan, you have the power to decide just how much data and call time you need, so you know you’re getting the best value out of your new plan.
3. Slap on the 5G Booster pack
Select the 5G Booster add-on and enjoy lightning-fast data connection speeds today!
The Bespoke Flexi Plan from M1 provides users with the power to fully customise their plan, which means there’s no money wasted on unnecessary features and you get incredible value for your money.
When building your plan, first select from a number of choices for data and
call minutes you’d like per month. Then, pick and choose any of the add-ons
you want to include. You can choose from a long list of services including:
– Caller Number Display / Non-Display
– Bundle packs
– Unlimited Weekend Data
– Data Usage Alert via SMS (free of charge)
– Cyber Guardian
– IDD 021 Saver
– Entertainment subscriptions
It’s a fully customised mobile plan solution that can be modified every single month, which means that you’re free to alter your plan according to your changing needs!
Start building your own personalised bespoke plan today at M1 and experience the 5G network for yourself.