We've known 5G is coming for a while now, but so far we've been struggling to comprehend why tech companies are so keen on the new standard. Sure, it's quicker and more reliable than 4G, but isn't 4G enough? Who needs faster internet than we already have?
We've been promised that cloud gaming will be great on 5G phones, and that you'll be able to download Netflix shows in a heartbeat – but we've got Wi-Fi for that, haven't we?
However Marc Allera, CEO of telecoms company EE, spoke at the company's launch of its 5G network in London, and he gave an example of why we'll embrace 5G – and it makes a lot of sense.
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Allera compared 5G to 4G – when that was coming up, people said it would be unnecessary too, but we were soon using it as part of our everyday lives to do things we wouldn't dream of being able to do on 3G.
As an example, Allera pointed to apps like Uber, Instagram and Spotify, which use 4G networks to great effect. You wouldn't be able to order and track a taxi on 3G, nor would you be able to view and upload pictures or download songs, and these are things we'd barely knew we wanted to do before we could do them.
Now we use our phone for these tasks every day, and it's become so normalized that we do it both with Wi-Fi, and using 4G networks when out and about.
In effect, Allera's saying that instead of hunting for a reason to use 5G, we should just embrace it and see what useful features and functions pop up along the way.
That's quite a vague plan, but the comparison to 4G is a very valid one, so in a few years our roster of most-used apps could be completely different to those we use before.
To some the future of 5G may look cloudy, but others can see the sun peaking through those clouds, and there could be many useful functions to 5G that we discover once we're connected.
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Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.
He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.