As 5G technology becomes more widely available, many people are wondering if their phone is capable of accessing this new network. In this article, we’ll explore how to determine if your phone has 5G capabilities and what you need to do to take advantage of this faster, more powerful network.
5G Background & Present Situation
For those interested, let us brief you with some 5G history first, so you know the facts.
5G devices began appearing around 2019, but really began to thrive in 2021 and 2022, could be the global pandemic slowed down its crescendo.
The 5G promises a lot of positive pros since its performance is significantly enhanced compared with 4G LTE, such as light speed internet, infinite connectivity, higher bandwidth, lower latency, increased reliability, faster mobility, downloading a 4K movie in minutes and the sort.
To mention, 5G consequences or disadvantages are also present, and come in the form of high density base stations, which require a significant investment in infrastructure, to the detriment of our environment, while antennas and technology used may have harmful effects on birds, which in turn could cascade through entire ecosystems.
Since a couple of years now that 5G has been with us, we haven`t as yet seen anything extraordinary. This is mainly due to the fact that few core networks have been implemented so far, and those few are all different with no interoperability or roaming between them. We saw top tech YouTubers review 5G, and they had to stand almost beneath the antenna to really experience its potential!
Having said that, 5G is here to stay, it`s the future, to be tweaked, improved and finally utilised by all. So, better be prepared for it, and that`s why new devices have it on-board almost by default, although this doesn`t apply to all the brands out there, so always check the specs.
The proof that 5G is our present and future is also confirmed from figures delivered by International Data Corp (IDC), whom we quote: “the quantity of 5G smartphones shipped in the U.S. hit 118.1 million units by the end of 2022, up from 92.8 million shipped in 2021. IDC predicts that by 2026, 161.2 million 5G smartphone units will ship in the U.S.”. Impressive figures indeed.
How Do I Know if My Phone Holds 5G?
Okay, so for those of you who couldn`t give a hoot about 5G history and scrolled down directly to this part of the article, well hello there, let`s delve.
As aforesaid, we are yet to experience the full 5G potential, as carriers are upgrading hardware from their end, but meanwhile smartphones and other devices are being launched 5G compatible.
So, we presume that you will want to opt for that smartphone which has 5G, or you have it already, and maybe you aren`t aware of.
We`ll assist you in determining if your smartphone is 5G enabled.
As of March 2023 pretty much all high-end and mid-range smartphones can utilise 5G network but, as already said, this doesn`t apply to all brands across the board. Could be you are fine with budget smartphones, which could still be 5G enabled.
It is of comfort for you iOS loyalists to know that as from iPhone 12 onwards, Apple started embedding 5G hardware in all their smartphones, including the iPhone SE (3rd generation), so if your smartphone falls in this range, you are 5G covered.
To check if your iPhone 5G works with your carrier`s networks:
- Open Settings App
- Navigate to Mobile Data
- Voice & Data
If you see 5G Auto or 5G On options listed, then your iPhone can work with your carrier`s networks. On the other hand if you see LTE or even 3G listed, then it won`t work with your carrier`s 5G network.
Now, if you hold an iPhone 12 or later, but you still don`t see 5G in the aforementioned list, then most probably you need to update your current iOS to include the necessary support. Check if you have any software updates pending to run.
Since nowadays there are a myriad of Android smartphones, the procedure may differ a little, unlike Apple`s unified one.
On your smartphone follow these steps:
- Open Settings
- Navigate to Network & Internet
- Preferred Network Type
If you find 5G listed there then your smartphone supports 5G, otherwise if you have 4G or LTE featured, then your smartphone isn`t 5G compatible.
Could be though that although your smartphone was 5G marketed by the manufacturer, or 5G listed in the phone`s specs on the website, you still don`t find 5G listed. In this case it could mean that your carrier isn`t currently yet certified to support 5G, or maybe there`s even a software update on the way. There`s also the possibility that your smartphone supports some 5G bandwidths, but alas they`re not the ones being used by your mobile operator.
Is There Any 5G in my Area?
As of 2023, 5G networks are still being deployed, so not every city or town has extensive 5G coverage. Carriers are gradually rolling out 5G networks, so places which don`t have 5G networks now, may be getting it in the coming months or years.
To verify if your carrier offers 5G in your area, ask a representative, contact them direct or check their website.
Keep in mind that apart from the carriers, which are still underway with tweaking and enhancing their hardware for us to enjoy 5G on our 5G enabled smartphones, you need to be linked with a provider which also supports 5G, otherwise it will still be hindered.
Now that we`re all 5G ready, we hope that we will benefit from this super power soon, ideally without affecting much our health and the planet along the way.