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
. 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
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".
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