5G is the next step in mobile internet connectivity, bringing faster speeds to phones everywhere. And it’s here. Almost. So far it’s only available in a few locations, while 5G handsets are just starting to hit the market.
When the infrastructure is more widespread, it will mean a better internet experience. Facebook will load faster, video streaming will be higher quality and there’ll be less lag for gamers.
But 5G will open up other possibilities. It could play a central role in the development of things like autonomous vehicles, new Internet of Things applications, robotics, medicine and even smart cities.
Yet 5G is also caught up in the fractious US-China relationship. China’s Huawei is one of the biggest manufacturers of 5G infrastructure, but it has been locked out of contracts in the US and many of its allies over espionage worries, which it roundly rejects.
It’s unclear how Washington and Beijing will settle their differences. But 5G could have a huge impact. Interestingly, though, many businesses are unconvinced. A recent survey by Accenture found many doubt claims about improved speeds and more than half don’t think 5G will greatly expand existing capabilities.