There's been a lot of hype around 5G phones these days. Every other smartphone brand out there, be it Apple, Huawei or Samsung, they all want you to taste this magical potion of 5G and transform yourself into speed-hungry lunatic suffering from FOMO or fear of missing out. But let's take a deep breath, relax and ask ourselves: Do we even need a 5G phone? What is it 5G phones can do differently than our existing regular 4G phones? Is there any difference at all? Well, yes, there's an underlying difference in terms of the technology. But how is that going to affect your overall smartphone experience?
Experts believe full-fledged 5G wireless networks are still years away, especially in developing countries like India. So it's probably ideal you should stick to a non-5G smartphone for the next few years at least. Because purchasing a 5G smartphone right away will be of zero use since you cannot leverage the service to its full potential. Here are some reasons why you don't want a 5G smartphone just yet:
5G phones will be much more expensive but we'd like to drive your attention to some of its technical limitations. Antennas and modems of 5G phones typically work only with particular 5G networks owned by specific mobile carriers. This could be a huge limitation while roaming overseas or if you decide to switch telecom network providers sometime in the future. These limitations should be fixed in the years to come but for now, they could serve as huge deal-breaker. The research firm IDC expects 5G phones to make up 9 per cent of worldwide shipments next year and 28 per cent in 2023.
5G can make phones expensive by a few hundred dollars. For example, the standard variant of the Samsung Galaxy S10 costs $900, whereas the 5G model costs $1,300, although Samsung also offers a larger screen and promises a better camera. Geoff Blaber of CCS Insight believes the price gap will likely disappear as and when 5G becomes a standard feature.
While 5G phones can still connect over existing 4G LTE networks, each smartphone brand emphasises selling 5G phones designed for a particular network. Verizon and Sprint have been using a wireless technology called CDMA, while AT&T and T-Mobile use an incompatible version called GSM. In the early days, smartphone brands used to produce CDMA and GSM models. However, it changed as technology evolved.
If you can wait for another year or two, you will have many options to choose from. By then, you can also expect 5G-compatible iPhones in the market.
(With inputs from AP)