5G networks are growing. But the spread of 5G smartphones seems to be advancing even faster. Presumably, the majority of cell phone users will have a 5G phone sooner than a 5G contract.
5G capability is not yet an absolute must for new smartphones: in wide network areas, fifth-generation mobile communications (5G) is still technically dependent on fourth-generation mobile communications (LTE) anyway. In addition, most mobile customers would still be left out of 5G use in their tariffs anyway, reports the telecommunications portal “Teltarif.de”.
On the other hand, 5G technology will probably still be found in smartphones of almost all price classes in 2022. It was not long ago that 5G-capable smartphones slipped below the price mark of 200 euros for the first time. The 150-euro mark is also likely to be undercut soon, establishing 5G even in entry-level smartphones.
Price war for 5G processors
The industry journal Digitimes cites the reason for this as an emerging price war between the two largest manufacturers of 5G-capable smartphone processors, Mediatek and Qualcomm. It is foreseeable that they will undercut each other in chip prices in the course of the second quarter. This is because handset manufacturers would also have large inventories of 5G processors due to falling smartphone demand.
This constellation could also lead to mid-range smartphones becoming even cheaper or being equipped more often with more powerful 5G chips, which were previously reserved for upper-range devices.
What 5G contracts are there?
But what good is the fastest, 5G-capable device without a 5G network and contract? 5G networks are now offered by all network operators, i.e. Telekom, Vodafone and O2 (Telefónica). In addition, 1&1 is still to build up its own 5G network. The prices of the corresponding fixed-term contracts are around EUR 30 per month upwards.
Prepaid contracts with a 5G option are available from Telekom and Vodafone from around EUR 20 per month. With less expensive prepaid contracts, you have to pay around EUR 3 extra per month for 5G. Depending on the rate plan, a time-limited, free 5G trial is also possible. O2 offers a 30-day, non-binding test run for 5G with the “O2 Test Card”. The mobile discounters are still on the sidelines when it comes to 5G.
What can 5G do?
And what is so special about 5G now? In a nutshell: 5G networks offer very high bandwidths, which means they can transmit data extremely quickly. Another advantage is the low response time (low latency).
At present, however, the majority of 5G networks in Germany are not stand-alone networks, explains Teltarif.de. Rather, 5G usually supplements the existing LTE networks. This combination offers higher data transmission speeds than pure LTE networks. However, combined networks still lack the low response time, for example, as this is only possible in stand-alone 5G networks.