5G, up to 40 times faster than 4G, will likely cost you a bundle

“5G wireless is coming. It’s going to be much faster than 4G — and likely way more expensive,” David Goldman reports for CNN. “Before the end of the decade, wireless companies are expected to start serving up 5G technology, which promises speeds of up to 40 times faster than 4G.”

“With speeds that fast, you’ll be able to do incredible things on your smartphone,” Goldman reports. “5G will let people stream ‘8K’ video in 3-D. That’s an incredibly detailed picture, which is twice as clear as 4K video and 16 times clearer than full HD video. A person with a 5G smartphone could download a 3-D movie in about 6 seconds. On 4G, it would take 6 minutes.”

“But with great speed comes great cost,” Goldman reports. “A typical standard-definition streaming video that you watch on your phone uses up to 0.7 GB of data per hour, according to Netflix. An hour of 1080p HD video uses up 3 GB. 3-D video uses up 4.7 GB and 4K video uses 7 GB of data. That’s more than three times the average monthly data plan, gone in a single hour.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Looking at our 4K UHDTV, it’s amazing and a testament to HEVC/H.265 that 4K video only uses 7 GB of data per hour.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Edward W.”and “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]


  1. I must be missing something here. Any online activity that would benefit from the speeds we’re talking about here would chew through data limits very very quickly and be very expensive. What percentage of folks would benefit from this over, say, a more consistent single digit Mbps speed in common scenarios like crowded cities or events?

    1. We need progress forward. We can’t hang up our hat and say that’s good enough to anything. If you want to stay stuck in time, then stop upgrading your iPhone every year, but don’t discourage new technology for those of us who want to move forward.

            1. Mike you sound like someone that’s never been to a venue with LOTS of people like a concert, race, football game, etc. Trust me he has a good point and the issue of solving network congestion when literally thousands and thousands of people are hitting tower at same time isn’t simple and not carrier specific.

          1. Still haven’t answered my question. Are you saying it’s more important for people to get 200 Gbps on their mobile devices over getting more reliable access in very common scenarios like these real world problems I’ve had (and yes I’ve tested them all Sprint, T–Mo, Verizon and ATT) : Dropping complete access on the Ohio and Penn Turnpikes, no access during Michigan Football games (not VZ, ATT, TMO or Sprint), no access during Detroit Lions football games except TMo. Overall Verizon seems best but still I’ve found gaps in things I’ve done. I would FAR rather be guaranteed at least a couple Mbps in everything I did than get 200Gbps in most places I go.

    2. Yes initially faster data will be more than most people need and be associated with rapey prices. But prices will go down and uses up.

      In the short run faster connections may reduce latency which benefits everyone.

      In the long run, the sooner we reach “peak useful speed”, the sooner prices will begin a permanent decline. I suspect that streaming stereo 8k virtual reality all day will be the useful limit for consumers.

  2. How about the carriers figure out how to get reliable LTE that can perform up to it’s potential before totally screwing up the roll out of another new technology?

    1. They will not figure it out. As LTE and 3G before that, it will work good only in selected number of locations — despite all the big coverage maps the likes of AT&T and Verizon are displaying.

      1. Elon Musk already has funding to use his (soon to be) reusable rockets to put up thousands of very low-orbit satellites to eliminate dead spots and latency everywhere on Earth … before moving on to Mars.

        Love that guy. The telecoms are going to hate him.

    1. 5G will let people stream ‘8K’ video in 3-D. That’s an incredibly detailed picture, which is twice as clear as 4K video and 16 times clearer than full HD video.

      8K is not twice, but four times more clear as 4K video.

  3. Let’s step back for a moment here..
    Which of you are really enjoying 4G speed on their phones? that’s 72 Mbits/s, right? are you getting at least 50Mb/s? 40?
    May be a phone is not much noticeable, but if you put it as hotspot, do you get 50Mb/s in your computer?
    I didn’t get 30 with AT&T and not getting them with TMobile in 4G.
    I know there is a delay and all that, but my land connection is 50Mb/s and I get about 90% most of the time (if you measure it using those test pages around the web). 3G, 4G, 5G, all marketing scare tactics.

  4. “Looking at our 4K UHDTV, it’s amazing and a testament to HEVC/H.265 that 4K video only uses 7 GB of data per hour.”

    If, and only if, you’re willing to look at UHDTV that is only marginally better (if at all better) than HDTV.

    Standard Blu-ray quality disks run at *about* 16.2 GB per hour for HDTV. UHDTV has more than four times the information (it’s NOT just double the horizontal and vertical resolutions, there are other data enhancements too). So using H.254 on UHDTV would give approximately 65 GB per hour of data. Now, with H.265 being, on average, about twice as efficient as H.264 you’d need about 32 GB or so per hour for “Blu-ray quality” UHDTV.

    So if you’re willing to live with 7 GB per hour of quality for UHDTV (which is lower data rate than HDTV on Blu-ray) versus 32 GB per hour of quality for a true, high quality UHDTV experience, then go for it.

    Still, in the long run, we’ll get there. High quality UHDTV takes less than 90 Mbps even with high end audio included. Super Hi-Vision (often wrongly referred to as “8K”) will likely take about 350 Mbps (barring some significant betterment in compression). Since an optimal implementation of “5G” will likely support gigabit per second data rates, decent UHDTV or even Super Hi-Vision, will be possible.

    Then, regardless of the cost, the issue becomes power and battery life. When doing RF transmissions it *ALL* comes down to energy per bit. Send more bits and you need to expend more energy to both transmit and receive them. It’s physics that you absolutely cannot avoid. The question will become how much with this affect battery life? I don’t need bandwidths that can support UHDTV (or Super Hi-Vision) on my phone or tablet if the battery life is going to be significantly reduced.

    And just to raise one more point…
    Because of the “energy per bit” issue that is unavoidable, when will the environmental extremists and personal health extremists start going nuts about the amount of RF energy we’re pumping into the air? Some people have been complaining about RF energy from cell phones for years often pointing to anecdotal evidence with regard to brain tumors and breast cancers. When will this issue escalate to the point of regulatory concern when the amount of RF energy increases? At what point will people believe it is a health issue?

  5. Working at Bell Labs30 years ago I always said you can never have enough bandwidth. I didn’t know what I would do with it but something will eventually pop up.

  6. Have no fear. In the US, the carriers will deploy something that is, maybe, 5 times faster than 4G, and the marketing departments will call it “5G”.

    Then the ITU will back off and say, “Well, it *is* faster than the US 4G standard, so we’ll call it 5G.”

    And once again we’ll pay for a substandard service while the Europeans look at us and wonder why we pay so much for so little.

  7. No one is asking the basic question.

    WHY would anyone want to watch an 8K movie in 3D on a 5-6 inch PHONE SCREEN in six seconds? Just because you can do something, should you?

    There comes a point in mobile technology in which further advancement in speed becomes ridiculous to the point of absurdity. . . a point at which the average user has no use that makes any sense at all.

  8. “5G” is still just a research project. But that doesn’t stop the marketing hype. It’s fun to read about this mythological technology. BUT the fact is that actual/factual 4G has just BARELY started being rolled out around the world. The ONLY place to get REAL 4G in the USA is Chicago. And apparently, you have to get some sort of Ericsson phone to use it. (Yuck!) I don’t know of ANY smartphones that can do real 4G out of the box.

    [Background: ‘4G’ as we currently know it is merely a marketing term with no reference to reality. Sound familiar? ‘4G’ is actually just fast actual 3G. If you find this fake ‘4G’ hype confusing and annoying, thank marketing morons in the industry who came up with this bullshit.]

    Read all about it!


    As with real 4G, I would NOT count on the hyped 5G rollout schedule being remotely realistic. But I’d be happy to be surprised.

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