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4G vs 5G

5G is the next generation of mobile technology and you’re going to notice the difference. As Australia’s largest home entertainment retailer, we’ll be the place to go to get the latest devices at the best prices. Here’s a few things to help you get your head around it all.

What is 5G?

5G is the next generation of mobile technology. G stands for generation, and we are up to the fifth generation. It all started with phone calls, moved to text messaging, emails, minor internet stuff and then 4G, which allows us to do everything we do on our mobile devices today. The Australian Government has been working to auction off the spectrum – the 3.6 Ghz band – to companies to enable 5G to go ahead when everything’s ready.

That means some of our biggest telcos are getting ready to start offering services, with the big focus on mobile technology and the difference 5G can make to what you’re doing on your devices now, and what you’ll be able to do in the very near future.

What are the benefits of 5G?

This is where things get really exciting. 4G has given us a lot when it comes to mobile broadband technology. We can stream short videos and even TV shows and movies with relative ease, using our mobile data. And 4G allows for pretty quick download speeds, about 20-times faster than 3G ever was. But when it comes to the things we love about 4G, they get even better with 5G:


Depending on where you are in Australia, 4G can offer you speeds of up to about 75Mbps on a typical download. While we all love what that means, it’s nothing compared to 5G. The experts point to 5G download speeds of anywhere up to 20 Gbps, which stands for gigabits per second. What does that mean? Simply, a gigabit is 1000 megabits. So, at the moment, we have up to 75Mbps, and 5G may be able to give us 20,000 Mbps. Pretty impressive stuff. What does that kind of speed mean? It means massively high-speed downloads and uploads – you’ll be able to download movies in seconds – and the kind of social media sharing you’ve never experienced before.

Better capacity

Have you ever been stuck at a sporting event or concert with your 4G phone and been frustrated with how hard it is to upload videos or photos to your social media, or check the scores from the other games? That’s because there are so many people around you trying to do the same thing. 5G will have much better capacity on the network, meaning these kinds of problems will be a thing of the past. This is because the 5G network will use frequencies that will carry a heap more information.

Less latency

Latency is basically the technical term for delay. Less latency means a better response time between sending and receiving data. It’s the difference between asking your device to do something and it happening. This is big for devices such as cameras, drones and industrial equipment that relies on 5G, but it’s also great news for gamers. It means gaming can be even more mobile. You’re not just stuck on a Wi-Fi network, you can game on the go, and do it well. This is a big difference from 4G.

Is 5G available where I am?

The physical rollout of 5G is likely to happen a bit differently than how we expect mobile coverage to work now. We’re all aware of the big poles dotted around our suburbs and towns, or rectangle antennas on the tops of tall buildings. That’s how the existing 3G and 4G works. If you’re near a tower, you have reception, and the rest is up to your phone, your provider and how many others are on it at the same time. 5G won’t work like that, well not in the long term anyway. The ideal is expected to look more like smaller base stations, small enough to sit on existing street infrastructure.

The more there are, the better your coverage. This limits the interference with the frequency, making things more reliable. So, whether you have access to 5G is really is going to be a matter of where you live as these things are rolled out. Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have all begun rolling out limited 5G in selected areas, with early access points in major cities. Telstra is already promoting infrastructure in the Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney CBDs, with plans to go up to 2km out. They have also launched 5G in the Gold Coast’s metropolitan area, and have made announcements about Hobart, Launceston and Toowoomba. All of the main players have made commitments to rolling out 5G in regional areas, an important step given some of the challenges these communities have with NBN and current blackspots.

Will 4G still be available when 5G starts?

The good thing is, whatever the date and however it works, 4G won’t be switched off overnight. In fact, that won’t happen for a long while. There’ll be plenty of time to upgrade to a new 5G phone when it’s up and running. But if you want to be one of the first, start thinking about it now. You can check out the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G phone in JB stores today.
For most people, 4G is still doing a great job, and JB has a heap of great phones that will keep doing that job for years. However, it’s worth knowing that 4G and 5G require different technology and different handsets, so if you’re thinking about upgrading your phone or your plan in the next little bit, give a thought to whether 5G is in your area and whether you want it.

What will 5G mean for my devices?

Once 5G becomes available, you’ll be able to sign up to a regular 5G mobile plan, just like you do for 4G. There are some Expressions of Interest for some of the telcos around the 5G broadband, but when the mobile technology becomes available there’ll be plenty of chance to find the best deal for you. Keep an eye out for great phones and plans on offer at JB.
Importantly, if you choose a 5G plan, it’s likely you’ll need a new handset. The technology involved in receiving and sending data over 5G is different, and the current 4G phones won’t do the job. So, you’re likely to see a heap of new 5G devices on the market pretty quickly, including phones and modems for your computer or laptop.

What 5G devices are available?

The big brands are all lining up to get in on 5G at the start. Samsung has just launched a special 5G version of its new S10, while OPPO has just launched the OPPO Reno 5G. Huawei has also come to the table with the Mate X, and there’ll surely be more models to follow soon.
So, what do I need to know about 5G?
There are a few key things to remember about 5G.

  • It’s going to be good. Lightning fast speeds, better capacity and less latency are going to blow your mind - whether you’re streaming, gaming, downloading or just surfing.
  • You’ll probably need a new device. 5G technology won’t run on current phones, so get ready to shop for a new one.
  • 4G will be around for a long time. We’ve only just switched off 2G, so it will be a while before 4G is turned off. 4G will probably last longer than your current phone. Check out JB’s big brand mobile phones online or instore today, and ask our staff about our 4G and 5G phones. You won’t have to wait too long. 5G is ready in some parts of Australia now on the Telstra network.
  • The big brands are ready. Samsung, LG, Huawei and Oppo are already producing models, and Google and Apple are expected to follow.
  • JB is the place to go. As soon as 5G is ready, and the big brands are up and running, JB will be the place to go to get it all.