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Will 2018 Be the Year of 5G?

Could we possibly see mobile 5G service before the end of 2018?

AT&T recently made headlines by announcing its plans to introduce mobile 5G service in a dozen markets by the end of 2018. AT&T is hoping to beat its competitors to the punch and become the first U.S. carrier to deliver 5G mobile service to customers. Meanwhile, Verizon also has plans of delivering 5G service before the year is over, while Sprint and T-Mobile are also expected to be players in the 5G game.

The news from AT&T is significant, as we have been hearing about 5G for quite some time now. If you’ve been reading this magazine, you have surely seen plenty when it comes to this subject matter. With this announcement, AT&T clearly believes it can lead the way in terms of 5G actually becoming a reality.

No doubt, AT&T has high expectations for 5G. According to Melissa Arnoldi, president, AT&T technology and operations, “5G will change the way we live, work, and enjoy entertainment. We’re moving quickly to begin deploying mobile 5G this year and start unlocking the future of connectivity for consumers and businesses. With faster speeds and ultra-low latency, 5G will ultimately deliver and enhance experiences like virtual reality, future driverless cars, immersive 4K video, and more.”

With all of the talk surrounding 5G, it begs the question: Are we in desperate need of 5G right now? Lou Frenzel, my colleague at Microwaves & RF and Electronic Design, doesn’t necessarily think so, as he recently wrote, “Our current 4G cellular standard Long Term Evolution (LTE) is adequately serving most of us right now.” Nonetheless, 5G does offer tremendous potential for many people. In any case, 5G is certainly on its way regardless of how you feel.

Part of what makes 5G so intriguing is that it prompts folks to think beyond smartphones. Virtual reality and driverless cars are two examples, according to Arnoldi. Will we see 5G-enabled virtual reality and driverless cars in the near future? AT&T believes that we will.

With all of that being said, 2018 should be an eventful year with regard to 5G. With all the activity currently taking place, it is possible that we could see 5G-equipped iPhones sooner than you may think. Stay tuned, as we will try to bring you the latest 5G developments throughout the year.

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