At the 2018 Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, the big US Carriers spent a lot of time trying to be more eager than the others in terms of their plans to deploy 5G, the next major evolution of wireless infrastructure. For those of you who are keeping track, after spending millions on 4G and seeing their average revenue per user (ARPU) actually drop, there was talk not so long ago of 5G roll-outs not starting until 2020. But here we are in 2018 and the carriers now seem to be in a race to deploy.
First, what is 5G? 5G is the next major improvement in wireless technology, promising even fast speeds and low latency (time it takes for the message to travel from sender to receiver). In addition to enabling new applications (video, autonomous vehicles), there is also the expectation that a 5G offer will finally allow wireless to compete with wireline (eg. cable) for home and business internet (also called "fixed wireless"). 5G will be an upgrade to the carrier networks, much like the 3G to 4G upgrade that has happened over the last few years.
So, back to the race. AT&T announced that they will launch 5G this year (2018) in 12 cities. Verizon is deploying 5G in 3 to 5 cities in the 2nd half of 2018. Sprint is signalling that they'll launch in 2019 and TMobile is only saying at this point that they'll have full 5G coverage in 2020 (indicating that partial coverage by AT&T and Verizon in 2018 doesn't really help anyone).
What does this mean to someone who has a GPS tracking device or is thinking about buying a GPS tracking device? Is it OK to buy a 4G device or should I wait until 5G devices come out? Should I buy a 3G device as they are still being offered?
As we've posted in our FAQS, if you have a 2G device, your network has already been shut down (AT&T) or will be shut down at the end of 2019 (Verizon), 2020 (TMobile) or 2021 (Sprint). While that might seem scary it is important to realize that 2G networks have been around since the 90's so the technology is extremely long lived and most customers upgraded their 2G devices long ago.
So, if you buy a device today on the latest technology (4G), you are very unlikely to have to worry about it becoming unable to function for many years, even considering the rapid pace of technology chance. Given that the operators are only planning to have 5G networks with complete coverage by 2020 (estimated based on comments to date), 4G networks are likely to last until at least the middle of the next decade, if not far beyond.
EZ Fleet was the first to offer 4G devices and we are market leaders in providing the very latest technology so you can have confidence that your investment will be functional for many years to come? Have an old device? Call us and we can provide the latest technology at the latest (lower) prices.