5G is supposed to be so much better than 4G, right? That’s what the technical specification calls for, and in real-time testing, 5G technology is so much better than 4G and even 4G LTE. That’s why all of the major carriers are working on rolling out their 5G networks nationwide.
Unfortunately, that rollout is relatively slow. Cities are slowly being lit up with 5G technology, and generally — at least, as of this writing — all three big carriers aren’t going to have the same 5G presence in the same cities at once. So on top of the rollout being slow, your ability to shop around with different carriers is extremely limited as well.
Everyone is asking why the rollout is taking long, and there is a lot of good reasons for that. If you’re impatient and wondering where in the world 5G technology is, follow along below, and we’ll show you why its taking long.
5G phones aren’t mainstream
One of the major problems with the 5G rollout is that many people don’t yet have 5G-capable phones. If someone wants to take advantage of the new 5G wireless technology, they will have to purchase a new smartphone. Because the current ones are not 5G capable. Most big manufacturers are launching 5G-capable smartphones alongside their new phones.
And it’s a hard situation Because consumers don’t have much to gain from purchasing a 5G-enabled smartphone since there are very few 5G-capable networks available. On top of that, 5G smartphones are way more expensive than their 4G LTE counterparts.
That also means that 5G is going to be a significant investment for carriers since consumers aren’t going to be signing-up for 5G plans in droves.
5G networks are limited
It’s also important to remember that 5G networks are limited in range. They operate on millimeter waves, which are capable of handling way more data than 4G LTE can — we’re talking high definition movies, huge documents, and files, etc. Unfortunately, the data is much more likely to get interrupted by objects, such as trees and buildings. But on top of that, the range is limited to less than a square mile.
That means that telecom providers need to install “5G cells” all-around cities. So, when you’re installing hundreds of thousands of 5G cells across the nation, that naturally takes a lot of time. And it’s not like telecom providers can do a mass rollout — after all, there are cities ordinances and regulations in place that stop a large-scale construction/rollout of this type.
Telecom providers have to work with local communities and regulatory offices to bring those cells to cities all over the world, and unfortunately, that means a lot of red tape.
One of the problems that many carriers are dealing with is all of the red tapes from regulatory officials. Yes, that’s right — many cities across the United States just aren’t cooperating with the new tech rollout. 5G wireless technology requires tons of new equipment — antennas, towers, wiring, and more. Unfortunately, it’s an uphill battle.
Municipalities are not working with telecom companies to bring equipment in cities, or the procedures that they have in place mean that approval is happening at extremely slow rates. That’s why different cities getting 5G networking might come across as random and sporadic.
Regulatory affairs are slow in general, but there are a variety of concerns, such as 5G equipment being installed on street lights and utility poles.
What might be even more of a problem is the public concern about 5G radio waves. It’s been questioned on how safe 5G radio waves are for us, emitting concerning amounts of radiation.
This is still being studied and looked into. Still, the concern is that 5G generates radiofrequency radiation that can lead to cancer or produce other health concerns, such as causing oxidative damage, disrupt cell metabolism, and so on.
That said, some scientists are saying that it is the argument on whether or not radiofrequency radiation is ionizing or non-ionizing. If it is determined to be ionizing, then yes, it’s hazardous. But if we’re leaning towards non-ionizing, we could be in the clear.
Another reason for the slow rollout — rolling out 5G is no affordable task. Telecom providers are expected to have invested $275 billion in this project by the time 2025 rolls around. Telecom providers are pretty well off, but unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of consumers exactly jumping on-board right away. So, carriers are losing money on 5G infrastructure, since it has to be in place and well accessible before they start making money off of it.
For them, it’s a long-term investment. So, naturally, the rollout is going to be slow anyway.
As you can see, carriers nationwide are hard at work bringing 5G network technology to the United States. However, as discussed, there are a handful of obstacles that are stopping it from rolling out as fast as initially hoped.