You don’t actually need 5G yet. 4G works just fine

A few years ago, 5G technology was introduced as revolutionary. Enormous data transfer speeds, reduced latency, a greater amount of free channels, and the famous “Internet of Things” was promised.

Operators in many countries have rushed to build infrastructure for the new network generation, both in the sub 6 GHz and mmWave spectrums. At the beginning of 2020, the first such networks started operating, but soon the coronavirus pandemic took place and further development slowed down. Of course, this is a valid reason, but the fact is that even three years later, we have not made much progress.

Many operators based their 5G networks on the existing LTE (4G) infrastructure (non-standalone 5G), which actually resulted in lower speeds than the 4G network itself. The transition to standalone 5G should have been faster, but it’s clearly not happening at the pace we’d like to see.

Networks using mmWave, i.e. spectrums of 20 GHz and above, can hardly be found and are still in some kind of experimental stages. An additional problem with millimeter wave is that it has a very short signal range and is only suitable for densely populated urban areas.

In Croatia, we have three operators, which have covered all cities and major traffic routes with a 5G signal, just like in the rest of Europe, but the problem is that in many locations 4G still works faster. For example, in my city, which has approximately 250,000 inhabitants (urban area), 4G network speeds are often above 100 Mbps in download. In some places, they reach over 300 Mbps. It should be noted that these are not peaks, but completely normal speeds. On the other hand, 5G can often be slower, with speeds below 100 Mbps, and only on a few occasions in the last two years I’ve managed to achieve a speed of around 1 Gbps, for a very short time, and in a limited area. This is exactly why I still keep my device limited to 4G networks because I have no real need for 5G. There’s no need to mention that 5G consumes more energy.

This is my personal experience in Croatia, but I haven’t seen anything better in Austria, Germany, and Italy either. Moreover, it seems to me that smaller countries like Croatia are even better covered by signals of all kinds than large ones.

Now we are interested in the situation with 5G networks in your country, and in your city. Tell us in the comments if you use 5G on a daily basis or if you’re satisfied with 4G technology. I personally believe that 5G will take a few more years to take full effect, and until then we will continue to rely on 4G.