5G is coming. We all know this. It’s still a while off, but it’s actually far more interesting than 4G, 3G, or any of the other “G’s” that came before it. Why? Because 5G doesn’t just change the way you use your phone, it changes the way you use the internet, everywhere. 5G should be the first cellular service that’s fast enough and uncongested enough that you can use it to replace wired internet, and that’s exciting since most people who pay for internet separately (in other words, the bundle pricing has expired) are paying $50-$75 a month for their home internet, plus whatever they’re paying for cell service. If you could save a cool thousand dollars a year, wouldn’t you?

By the way, we use all this “G” stuff to refer to the “generation” of data service. “1G” was really sort of a non-starter; 2G, otherwise known as GPRS, was the first wireless standard that could really bring you any sort of information without making you throw the phone at the wall due to slow speeds. 3G brought the ability to get pictures, and 4G, which sort of melded into LTE, brought the ability to get online video on your mobile device.

5G won’t be here for a few years yet so let’s look back 4 short years to when 2G and 3G started to disappear. 2G first rolled out in about 2004, and it was nine long years before cell carriers decided it was time to say goodbye to it. Most likely you won’t see long lead times like that in the future, as people grow ever hungrier for the latest and greatest technology. But the point is, all things come to an end, and it was in November 2013 that we reported that AT&T was retiring 2G and 3G service, starting in New York City. Oh those heady days of worrying about whether or not your old Motorola T720 would still work!

It’s pretty amazing how quickly technology changes, and I can guarantee that in four years I’ll be talking about some other technology that we depend on today already being obsolete. See you then!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.