You have questions about 5G. We have answers. Our hub page for everything 5G. Learn the basics, learn what matters and what doesn't, we answer your questions about safety, and all of the latest 5G news in one place.
Intro to 5G Series:
If you follow tech at all, you've probably been hearing about 5G for a while. If you've managed to avoid the 5G hype so far, brace yourself; the 5G hype machine is just warming up. So what is 5G? Should you care? How does it work?
5G is a new radio technology, so naturally those most concerned about environmental health have been asking if it's safe. There's a lot of science on the subject, and also a lot of pseudo-science. We try to cut through the bull to explain the safety issues with radio waves in general, cell phones in particular, and what makes 5G different.
For the phone industry, 5G is essential. And since they're spending billions on it, they want to justify that expense by getting you, the consumer, excited about it, too. But how will it actually impact you? Do you need a 5G phone? Should you care about 5G in 2019 or 2020?
Important Glossary Terms:
Recent 5G News:
Motorola President Sergio Buniac took the stage at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Summit today to announce that Motorola will deliver a phone in early 2020 powered by the Snapdragon 765 chip, as well as one powered by "Qualcomm's flagship platform", presumably the Snapdragon 865 chipset. Buniac also announced that one of the phones will support data speed in excess of 5 Gbps. Qualcomm revealed in a presentation today that the 765 will support data speeds up to 3.7 Gbps, so this seems to refer to the 865.
Qualcomm today revealed an accelerated timeline for bringing integrated 5G to its Snapdragon chips for mid-range phones. An unnamed 7xx-series Snapdragon chip that fully integrates a 5G modem is already sampling to customers such as LG, Motorola, and Nokia / HMD Global (among others), with the chip launching commercially before the end of 2019, and phones using the chip available "soon thereafter". The chip fully supports all mmWave and sub-6 GHz frequency bands for 5G worldwide, as well as both NSA and SA networks, both TDD and FDD modes, and DSS (Dynamic Spectrum Sharing, which allows 5G and 4G to share existing frequency bands). The company also plans to bring 5G to its 6xx-series Snapdragon chips, with devices using those those chips expected to be commercially available in the second half of 2020.
Motorola has updated the software for its Moto Mod accessory that adds 5G to existing Moto Z-series phones, improving functionality for all phones, and adding compatibility with the Z2 Force for Verizon. The update improves both 5G download speeds, and enables two-way charging between the phone and the Mod when the battery is low in either. The update is available now for the Z2 Force and Z3. The update comes pre-installed on the Moto Z4. The Z2 Force was launched in August 2017 and carried by Verizon until October 2018.
Verizon has announced a new list of 20 cities where it will offer 5G coverage in 2019. They are Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Des Moines, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Little Rock, Memphis, Phoenix, Providence, San Diego, Salt Lake City, and Washington DC. The company has already launched mobile 5G service in Chicago and Minneapolis. The company continues to promise 5G in "more than 30" US cities by the end of the year, leaving at least nine cities yet to be announced. Verizon offers 5G phone service with a Moto z3 + 5G Moto Mod. Its first phone with integrated 5G will be the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, which became available for pre-order today, and hits stores on May 16th.
Verizon launched the first part of its commercial, mobile 5G network today in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis. Consumers can experience 5G service with the Motorola Moto z3 when used with the 5G Moto Mod accessory, which also goes on sale to the general public today. Verizon says early customers in Chicago and Minneapolis should expect typical download speeds of 450 Mbps, with peak speeds of nearly 1 Gbps, and latency less than 30 milliseconds. Verizon had originally announced April 11 as the launch date, but moved the launch up to today in order to beat Korea's SK Telecom to claim the "first commercial 5G network in the world that works with a 5G smartphone". SK Telecom just today announced its plans to launch commercial 5G on April 5th with the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. Verizon has announced plans to carry the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and LG V50 ThinQ phones, both of which have 5G fully integrated, but it appears SK Telecom will be the first to offer a phone with integrated 5G. Verizon's 5G service costs an extra $10/month. The company has announced plans to expand its 5G network to over 30 US cities this year. Verizon's 5G network launching today relies on the 28 GHz frequency band, which is considered mmWave. Such high frequencies have limited range and do not penetrate well indoors. Sprint plans to launch its 5G network — using much lower frequencies — starting next month, offering the LG V50 ThinQ. AT&T claims it launched its mmWave 5G network last year, but has yet to make compatible devices available to the general public. AT&T has promised to offer a 5G phone in the first half of 2019.
Verizon's first standards-compliant mobile 5G network will launch in select areas of Chicago and Minneapolis on April 11th. 5G service will cost an extra $10/month. The country's first 5G smartphone solution will be the 5G Moto Mod for the Moto z3, which customers can pre-order starting tomorrow, March 14th. For a limited time, the 5G Moto Mod is available for just $50, after which it will sell for $350. The $10/month 5G data plan offers truly unlimited 5G data and requires an existing "Unlimited" service plan. The first three months of 5G service are free. The 5G Moto Mod is only compatible with the Moto z3, and Verizon will only sell it to customers they can confirm have a Moto z3. Verizon has also announced plans to carry the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and LG V50 ThinQ phones, both of which have 5G fully integrated. Verizon's initial 5G NR network relies on the 28 GHz frequency band, which is considered mmWave. Such high frequencies have limited range and do not penetrate well indoors. The initial Chicago coverage will include West Loop, South Loop, Gold Coast, River North, Old Town, Union Station, Willis Tower, Art Institute, Millennium Park, Chicago Theatre, and near the Verizon Store on the Magnificent Mile. The Minneapolis coverage will include Downtown West, Downtown East, areas of Elliot Park, Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis Central Library, Mill City Museum, Target Center, The Commons, and U.S. Bank Stadium. 5G offers lower latency (delay) and faster data speeds overall. Verizon's 5G phones are only compatible with the new 5G NR network launching in April, and not the company's existing 5G Home network, which uses an incompatible, non-standard technology.
Motorola and Verizon Wireless say they've successfully completed a 5G NR data transmission test between the Moto Z3 paired with a 5G Moto Mod and Verizon's network. Motorola announced the Moto Z3 for Verizon in August along with a Moto Mod capable of adding 5G to the Z3. While the Z3 went on sale over the summer, Motorola and Verizon said the 5G Moto Mod wouldn't arrive until 2019. The test demonstrates that the Mod does indeed bring 5G service to what Motorola and Verizon marketed as the "first 5G upgradeable phone." The companies performed this test in Providence, R.I., using Verizon's 28 GHz spectrum. The 5G Moto Mod relies on Qualcomm's Snapdragon X50 5G modem with QTM052 mmWave antennas. The companies used the publicly available Motorola Moto Z3. Motorola says the Moto Z3 will be the "first smartphone with access to Verizon’s 5G network" when that network launches. Verizon is expected to launch mobile 5G service during the early months of 2019. It launched fixed 5G in October. Verizon competitors AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile are all clamoring to be first to offer mobile 5G. AT&T recently revealed its first mobile 5G product, the Netgear Nighthawk hotspot. Sprint says it is working with LG to bring a 5G-capable phone to market.
AT&T today said it has launched what it calls 5G Evolution in 99 new markets, bringing the total of pre-5G markets to 239. AT&T is on track to reach its goal of 400 markets by the end of the year, and nationwide coverage during the first half of 2019. The company says its 5G Evolution technology — which is not 5G NR — can deliver theoretical speeds up to 400 Mbps to properly equipped phones. AT&T expects to launch true 5G mobile service in a dozen markets by the end of the year, with another seven joining the list in early 2019. Further, AT&T has expanded its LTE-LAA footprint to parts of 20 markets and expects to reach 24 by December. LTE-LAA can push speeds to a theoretical max of 1 Gbps. A handful of phones sold by AT&T are LTE-LAA capable, including the Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, S8+, S9+, Note8, Note9, and S8 Active, as well as the LG V30 and V35, the Motorola Moto Z2 Force Edition, and the Netgear Nighthawk Mobile Router. AT&T's first real 5G NR mobile device will be a mobile hotspot.
Sprint today announced that together with LG it will bring its first 5G mobile phone to market during the first half of 2019. Sprint said the "innovative handset" is being "built for the country's first mobile 5G network." Sprint claims its forthcoming 5G network will allow customers to download full-length HD movies in seconds instead of minutes, and stream graphic-heavy videos and games without delays or lag-time. Specifics concerning the device were not provided. Sprint plans to launch its 5G mobile network in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. Sprint says more 5G devices are in development and will be announced over time. All the major carriers are rushing to be first to launch 5G. AT&T expects to offer a 5G mobile hotspot by the end of the year, while Verizon Wireless and Motorola will offer a 5G Moto Mod to the recently-announced Moto Z3 smartphone early next year.
Motorola and Verizon Wireless hope consumers will buy into the idea of upgrading their Moto Z3 phone with a modular 5G attachment some time next year. The Mod promises to bring a 10x improvement in data download speeds without sapping the battery too much. How are Motorola and Verizon making this work? We'll tell you.
Motorola today announced the Moto Z3, what it calls the first "5G upgradable" phone. The phone itself is a warmed-over version of Motorola's modular phone. The Z3 is, for all intents and purposes, a hot-rodded version of the recently announced Z3 Play. The Z3 has a 6-inch AMOLED full HD+ display with a 2:1 aspect ration. Motorola improved the processor by adopting the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. The phone has 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of built-in storage and supports memory cards up to 2 TB. The Z3 has two 12-megapixel cameras on the rear with portrait/bokeh tools. Where the Z3 Play has two full-color sensors, the Z3 has one color sensor and one monochrome sensor for depth sensing, contrast, and true black-and-white imaging. The user-facing camera has a 5-megapixel sensor. Motorola says the 3,000mAh battery supports TurboCharge and lasts all day. Other features include splash resistance, USB-C, Bluetooth 5 with aptX HD, face unlock, dual-band wifi. The phone runs Android 8 Oreo and will be updated to Android P later this year. It includes Moto Actions, Moto Display, and Motorola's swipe-based navigation tool at the bottom of the display. Verizon will begin selling the Moto Z3 on August 16. The phone will cost $20 per month, or $480 at full retail. Verizon will knock $300 off the price of a Moto Z3 to those who switch to Verizon and trade-in their old phone. Pricing and availability for the 5G Moto Mod will be announced later this year. Verizon expects to launch fixed-wireless 5G in a small number of markets, including Houston, Los Angeles, Sacramento, late this year. Verizon says its mobile 5G network will go live in early 2019.
AT&T today said it has launched what it calls 5G Evolution in 117 new markets, bringing the total of pre-5G markets to 141. The company says its 5G Evolution technology can deliver theoretical speeds up to 400 Mbps to properly equipped phones. AT&T expects to launch 5G service in in a dozen markets, including Dallas and Waco, Texas, and Atlanta, Ga., by the end of the year. Further, AT&T has expanded its LTE-LAA footprint from three markets to parts of seven markets. LTE-LAA can push speeds to theoretical a max of 1 Gbps. The new LTE-LAA markets are Boston, Sacramento and McAllen, Texas. A handful of phones sold by AT&T are LTE-LAA capable, including the Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, S8+, S9+, Note8, and S8 Active, as well as the LG V30 and Moto Z2 Force Edition. AT&T's LTE-LAA is already available in The Loop in Chicago, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, downtown LA, and the business district of San Francisco. AT&T plans to deploy LTE-LAA in at least 24 markets by the end of the year.
Intel today announced a range of efforts in the 5G space, including its timeline for bringing new Intel-powered 5G devices to market. The company says it has been developing 5G technology for some now, including virtualized network functionality and software defined networks. It is relying on the 3GPP 5G NR spec and is working with vendors and partners to create an ecosystem of products to support 5G as it rolls out. One of the primary pieces of the 5G puzzle is Intel's recently announced Xeon D-2100 system-on-a-chip (SoC) processor. It can handle intensive compute and network workloads demanded by 5G at the network edge. Further, Intel has partnered with China's Unigroup Spreadtrum and will pair a Spreadtrum processor with its own XMM 8000 5G modem. Intel expects to see phones packing the combined Spreadtrum/Intel SoC during the second half of 2019. PCs with embedded 5G are on the horizon, too. PC makers Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Microsoft all plan to enable their mobile computers to support 5G connections with the Intel XMM 8060 modem. Intel and its partners will have some concepts on display at the forthcoming Mobile World Congress trade show. They also expect to bring these concepts to market during the second half of 2019.