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The Big Deal About 5G

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know a lot about the difference between 3G, 4G and 5G. I guessed it had something to do with bandwidth (as it relates to how fast my mobile phone works). And I have seen announcements in the press that Verizon (my carrier) launched their 5G network in October 2018.

And then I went to Barcelona, Spain, last week. I went to Barcelona to attend the three-day International Women’s Forum Conference (I am a member). The Friday morning program was entitled “The Fourth Industrial Revolution.” The program description detailed that there would be some discussion on how 5G will improve the capacity and reliability of mobile broadband. And that it is expected to unleash a technological revolution that will transform the way we live and work. Technological revolution. That definitely got my attention.

To step back, nowhere in the materials did it say that the location of the conference, Barcelona, is considered the “smartest city” in the world. In fact, I learned that Spain has more fiber network than the U.K., France, and Italy – combined! What is a smart city? A smart city’s purpose is to make people’s lives better. And to use technology as an enabler for that.

So as I listened to executives from Intel, Dentons, IBM Europe, and GSMA (which is the trade body that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide) I was blown away to learn that going from 3G to 5G basically improves the download capability 20,000 times. Yes – that means our data, audio, video, etc., will download 20,000 times faster than when we had 3G.

And why is this important?  Because of the Internet of Things (IoT). 5G will enable us to really be connected. Whether it is the timing of traffic signals when there is an accident or heavy traffic, or enabling autonomous vehicles to talk to each other to avoid collisions, optimize traffic flow, etc. Or allowing you and everyone at your company to simultaneously download a training video or webcast, from personal mobile devices, in the same room.

If you want to know how 5G is really going to change our world, then play this four-minute video. It’s an excellent overview of what we’re in for.

I’m excited about the future, and my head is spinning with ways the IoT will enable us to do things we’ve never even thought of. As my 95-year-old mother likes to say, “Technology is amazing.”


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