5G is the wave of the future — and the future is now. Long heralded as a new era of outstanding connectivity, high performance, and unprecedented technological capability, it’s finally here, and it’s becoming increasingly ubiquitous.
While 5G is largely confined to densely populated areas at the moment, its increasing rate of adoption by the general public and across a wide variety of industries, from retail to manufacturing to healthcare, indicates that it will enter a new phase in the coming year.
In fact, 2022 will be a pivotal year for 5G. It’s highly likely that the vast majority of mobile phones and tablets sold in the next year will support 5G. And the top carriers have all announced their plans for rollout — a rollout that is coming sooner rather than later.
Are you ready for the 5G revolution? Here’s what you can anticipate in 2022.
Global adoption of 5G will reach — and, in fact, surpass — one billion devices in 2022, Ericsson projects. Its June 2021 Mobility Report notes that it is overtaking the world at a far higher speed than that of 4G. In fact, Ericsson anticipates that there will be more than half a billion 5G users by the end of 2021 alone.
This isn’t true across all regions, though. It will inevitably take longer for some regions to adopt and deploy 5G than others.
3G made its debut roughly 20 years ago. At the time, it represented a new era of internet connectivity. But that era is coming to an end. In 2022, all of the major mobile carriers in the U.S. plan to retire 3G. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, the 3 top carriers, have announced dates at which this service will end in the coming year.
This should affect very few users since most people have moved onto 4G devices. However, anyone who still relies on a 3G device should be aware that they will long longer be able to make or receive calls and send or receive text messages in early 2022, although wifi service will still work.
All the major players have already invested in 5G. Apple entered the game in fall 2020, with its iPhone 12 debut, which has 5G capabilities. Samsung started even earlier, back in 2019. But even smaller players are getting in on the action, too.
For example, Nokia will serve as the supplier of UScellular’s standalone 5G network. The carrier serves a relatively low number of customers, despite being the fourth-largest carrier in the U.S., but its deployment of 5G, expected to be completed by the end of 2022, could increase its popularity — as well as that of Nokia.
AT&T and Verizon had originally planned to roll out their new 5G frequency band on December 5, 2021. However, concerns about interference with cockpit safety systems have led them to delay their rollouts until January 5, 2022. Now, they are working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration to hear their warnings about these potential dangers so they can assess and address the safety concerns.
Ultra-fast download speeds are one of 5G’s main claims to fame. And for the most part, it is proving to live up to the hype — to an extent. According to an analysis by RootMetrics, 5G speeds were higher than 4G speeds for each carrier they assessed. For AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, the speeds were higher than those of the previous year’s 5G results.
However, RootMetrics also reports that these speeds aren’t necessarily as fast as anticipated. Service isn’t equal across the board and, in some cases, download speeds aren’t even that much faster than those of 4G.
5G has a number of benefits, including lower latency, increased bandwidth, and greater capacity. One sometimes-ignored advantage is the fact that it could improve connectivity for underserved populations.
Communities that rely on wired broadband connections can now enjoy better connectivity, after having been overlooked in the past. Thanks to the performance and super-high speed of 5G, rural communities and areas with low populations now have access to better internet connections.
What’s new with 5G in 2022? As you can see, the answer is quite a bit. 5G certainly had a moment in 2021, with an increased rollout and new benefits emerging. But next year we will see this standard take its capabilities and features to even greater heights. It’s time for the world to adjust to make way for the next era of broadband cellular networks — and technology itself.