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What are the advantages and disadvantages of 5G technology in the US?
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5G will require entirely new devices and technologies

Similar to the country-wide transition from analog to digital television in 2009, 5G technology will require the development and purchase of new devices and technologies that can support it.
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The Argument

5G will work in a world that is mostly 4G, but 4G will not work in a world that is mostly 5G. While new 5G devices can operate on a 4G LTE network, it cannot work the other way around. Although nationwide 5G rollout will take several years, you will eventually be required to purchase a 5G-compatible phone, laptop, television, et cetera[1]. At first, this may not seem like a huge deal, but due to the fact that this is a new and much more advanced technology, prices will be incredibly high. This is proven by Samsung's lineup of 5G-enabled smartphones; the Galaxy S10 5G phones began at $750, while the Galaxy S20 began at $1,000[2]. Pete Lau, CEO of OnePlus - a smartphone-manufacturing company known for their products' affordability - has confirmed that their 5G would be more expensive, because 5G technology "add[s] cost".[2] Prices will eventually go down, but while 5G is still a relatively new phenomenon, some consumers may have difficulty affording new devices. All-new devices will also lead to an increase in e-waste, due to consumers throwing away and replacing their old devices at a higher rate. Currently, only 15% of electronics are recycled responsibly. This creates concern for potential environmental consequences following a nationwide 5G rollout[3].

Counter arguments

5G is more of a complement to than a replacement for 4G; it is building on top of and improving features that 4G already has. According to AT&T vice president Gordon Mansfield, "many aspects of [the old and new network] are shared", and "some things we'll do for 5G are inherently backward compatible and will lift the capabilities of 4G"[4]. It will be a long time until 4G is completely phased out, so you don't need to worry about buying a new phone yet[5].


Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 07:25 UTC

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