5G is coming soon to a neighborhood near you. As telecoms build out their 5G networks and start to look at services, the Wall Street Journal reports that it will likely cost you more.
The cost to build out 5G nationwide is enormous. Companies are spending billions. 5G waves don’t travel as far on their own. While 4G towers can deliver service over distances approaching 10 miles, high bandwidth 5G wave distance is measured in feet. That means more towers at distances approaching 1,000 feet apart and they’ll need a lot more of them. Most are yet to be built.
5G promises speeds 10X-100X faster than 4G. In addition to faster speeds, it also has lower latency. Latency defines the time it takes from when a command is issued to when it gets carried out. Latency with 5G is expected to reduce latency by as much as 90% versus 4G.
The first wave of 5G to rollout will be called 5G, but won’t support high bandwidth traffic, according to the WSJ. Speeds will be faster (10-20%) but rely on lower-band spectrums that don’t need as many cell towers to support. Who’s going to pay more for 10-20% faster? We’ll see.
In addition to increased costs for 5G service, consumers may have to shell out for new phones and routers capable of carrying the network traffic. A study by Ericsson reported that U.S. consumers say they are willing to pay an extra 20% more for a 5G wireless plan. That might not include any additional services, such as AR/VR, etc.
Still, when customers are now used to unlimited data plans and pricing that has edged down slightly in the past few years for data, it’s yet to be seen if they’ll be willing to pay more.