The Truth about 5G
Although the little 5G indicator has been on our mobile phones for some time, its introduction might still raise some questions.
What is 5G? What is it for and what are the concrete changes compared to 4G? How do you get 5G?
MyConnectivity gets to the bottom of these questions and explains what 5G is all about.
5G = Fifth Generation Mobile Network
As the name somewhat suggests, 5G is the fifth generation of mobile networks. In other words, it is the fifth major evolution of a set of various technologies, both hardware and software, which enables wireless cellular communications. This has been logically preceded by four previous generations since the first network infrastructure was introduced in 1986.
Every generation has been driven by a core interest: the evolving need for mobile communication. While the first generation was marked by the appearance of phones only able to do voice calls, the others progressively implemented new capacities, use-cases and key functionalities.
In Luxembourg, the following four operators have acquired licenses to operate a public 5G network: Tango, POST, Orange and Luxembourg Online.
It is indicated by the famous “little bars” on the display of your mobile phone. The ones we always chase after when we’re lost in the middle of the countryside.
What is the difference between 4G and 5G?
The massive use of mobile phones, especially for Internet use, threatened to overload the 4G network. Nowadays, “everyone” has a mobile phone and many of us use it for other purposes than just making calls. We watch videos, read content, share photos, order a pizza or search for a route, etc. That’s the main benefit of 4G: access to the Internet and seamless access to thousands of applications, with the widespread availability of online app stores. 5G introduces technologies that not only prevent this saturation from occurring, but also pave the way for the development of services adapted to the demands of modern society in terms of large-scale digitalisation.
Better and faster: Advantages of 5G
One can summarise the strengths of 5G in three points:
- Better connectivity: In areas where the density of connected devices is very high and there is a risk of congestion, the 5G mobile network can support 1 million devices per square kilometre. So the convenience of using your mobile phone is much greater.
- Ten times faster data throughout: With 5G, internet connection speed is up to 10 times faster than with 4G. It could reach multiple gigabits per second in download speed in the coming years. In other words, 5G embodies the most powerful connectivity, similar to fixed-line internet at very high speeds.
- A tenfold reduction in latency: Latency is the time that elapses between triggering an action by touching the screen and the execution of that action, for example the stop of a remotely operated machine. With 5G, latency is about to decrease to below 10 milliseconds.
Mobile plan: How do I get 5G?
To benefit from it, firstly you need to opt for a 5G subscription plan with one of the operators present in Luxembourg. You might not get 5G from a several-year-old mobile contract. Note that if you have a foreign 5G subscription plan, 5G is not necessarily available in Luxembourg on your device. Some operators reserve 5G for their home network and steer you on 3G or 4G when roaming.
The second requirement for using 5G is a compatible phone. 5G is not only a software infrastructure, but also a hardware one. Nowadays, almost all new smartphones are compatible with this mobile network, but if you acquired your smartphone before 2019, it probably cannot receive 5G. For reference, Apple Introduced 5G with the iPhone12 in 2020. Samsung introduced 5G with the S20 in 2019.
Well advanced: Coverage in Luxembourg
Compared to other European countries, you can say that Luxembourg is one of the good students in 5G. The rollout is close to completion, covering 93% of the population.
All operators active in the Grand Duchy, which we mentioned above, have heavily invested in the 5G networks throughout the country. Yet some rural regions of the Grand Duchy are currently not yet covered, so-called “white spot” regions. These are a significant concern for operators, who are working hard to fill the coverage gaps. The 4G or 3G networks are still active in these areas.
Want to know if your home or workplace has 5G coverage? Find out here.