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< Back to question What are the advantages and disadvantages of 5G technology in the US? Show more Show less

Although already introduced by some carriers in some areas of the US, 5G - the successor to 4G, which currently provides connectivity to most mobile devices - could have a nationwide rollout by the end of 2020. The transition from 4G to 5G would transform the digital landscape as we know it today. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of 5G deployment across the United States?

5G deployment is bad Show more Show less

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5G will require entirely new devices and technologies

Similar to the country-wide transition from analog to digital television in 2009, 5G technology will require the development and purchase of new devices and technologies that can support it.
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The Argument

5G will work in a world that is mostly 4G, but 4G will not work in a world that is mostly 5G. While new 5G devices can operate on a 4G LTE network, it cannot work the other way around. Although nationwide 5G rollout will take several years, you will eventually be required to purchase a 5G-compatible phone, laptop, television, et cetera[1]. At first, this may not seem like a huge deal, but due to the fact that this is a new and much more advanced technology, prices will be incredibly high. This is proven by Samsung's lineup of 5G-enabled smartphones; the Galaxy S10 5G phones began at $750, while the Galaxy S20 began at $1,000[2]. Pete Lau, CEO of OnePlus - a smartphone-manufacturing company known for their products' affordability - has confirmed that their 5G would be more expensive, because 5G technology "add[s] cost".[2] Prices will eventually go down, but while 5G is still a relatively new phenomenon, some consumers may have difficulty affording new devices. All-new devices will also lead to an increase in e-waste, due to consumers throwing away and replacing their old devices at a higher rate. Currently, only 15% of electronics are recycled responsibly. This creates concern for potential environmental consequences following a nationwide 5G rollout[3].

Counter arguments

5G is more of a complement to than a replacement for 4G; it is building on top of and improving features that 4G already has. According to AT&T vice president Gordon Mansfield, "many aspects of [the old and new network] are shared", and "some things we'll do for 5G are inherently backward compatible and will lift the capabilities of 4G"[4]. It will be a long time until 4G is completely phased out, so you don't need to worry about buying a new phone yet[5].

Premises

Rejecting the premises


References

  1. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2019/12/01/should-you-buy-5-g-phone-now/4317636002/
  2. https://www.businessinsider.com/5g-is-making-smartphones-we-love-more-expensive-than-ever-2020-3#:~:text=So%20far%2C%205G%2Denabled%20smartphones,will%20cost%20more%20than%20usual.
  3. https://wasteadvantagemag.com/the-5g-revolution-and-what-it-means-for-e-waste/
  4. https://www.cnet.com/news/no-5g-isnt-going-to-make-your-4g-lte-phone-obsolete/
  5. https://www.wilsonpro.com/blog/will-4g-phones-work-on-the-5g-network

This page was last edited on Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 07:25 UTC

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