What are the pros and cons of 5G?

What are the pros and cons of 5G?

Technology is moving fast. Not too long ago we had Nokia bricks and 4G was the next big thing. It’s 2019 and 5G is here. Now the question is when to upgrade your phone – be an early adopter or wait for some of the issues to be thrashed out.

The pros

The main benefit of 5G is that it gives you more bandwith for your buck. Users have reported super quick speeds that load webpages in a flash and stream video without having to rage at the buffering.

Some people have even found that it beats their home broadband. Student houses are hungry for WiFi data, so this could be the 5G dealbreaker for you.

You probably use Netflix, Amazon Prime, NowTV, Hulu etc. Well 5G is built for the video streaming age. The BBC has reported that 43% of 12-15 year-olds use their mobile phones to watch television. Technology is now going to start catching up with our changing habits.

To put this into numbers, 4G delivers a peak speed of 60Mbps. 5G has a peak of 300Mbps, which is 5 times faster. Reading that sentence gives me a chill. How much Love Island can our phones download in second?

If you encounter a blackspot in your 5G coverage (more on that later in the cons section), your phone will easily switch it out with 4G. Just like you do now with 3G, though expect to feel just as frustrated when 4G has ancient seeming speeds.

The benefits of 5G will be experienced by everyone that uses the new technology. There are benefits such as commercial use that go beyond your personal Netflix habits. For example, conference calling may be brought up to speed to fit the trends of remote working.


The cons

However, the excitement to use 5G has been tempered by a few setbacks. Because it’s so new, only a few companies can give you a compatible handset. You have less choice for your phone, as it’s the chunkier models that are 5G enabled at the moment.

You also have to be living in the right place. London is one of the launch cities and it’s coming to Coventry in 2019 but other places may have to wait. Even if you live in one of the places it’s launching, the coverage may be patchy or miss out your part of the city.

There’s been widespread coverage of the issues with speed. Sometimes it can vary wildly and not live up to the promised lightning fast times.

With greater speed, comes more data use, so be prepared for your data allowance to go higher with a price rise. Otherwise, you will burn through your 2GB in just a few glorious days.


Are we ready for 5G? The infrastructure of the UK mobile network will need to be dramatically changed. 5G wavelengths are shorter and can’t travel as far as 4G. This means that we need to move from using a small number of high-power towers to higher number of lower power towers.

This has been accompanied by a lot of scare stories about the impact on health. Some people say 5G should go through a longer testing period, but there haven’t been any conclusive studies showing health impact and there’s a lot of politics and commercial interests at play.

One of the reasons our Digital and Computing degrees in Coventry, London and Scarborough are so interesting is that they explore future technologies such as 5G.

Will you be buying a 5G handset?