Is 5G expensive? Here's exactly what you're paying for


Written by: Circles.Life

Many people are cautious when it comes to signing up for 5G plans as they assume it’s really expensive. In reality, 5G is more affordable and cost-effective than you think. While the plans may seem a little pricier than 4G ones (at least right now when the tech is still new), you have to keep in mind what you’re paying for: a service that gives you a significant upgrade to the one you’re currently on.

So, is 5G really that expensive? The best way to explain things is by breaking down 5G and showing you what comes with every plan.

What is 5G technology?

5G gets its name as it is the 5th generation in the mobile network world. Long ago, we only had 1G, while most people’s first interaction with mobile networks saw them use 3G. For a few years, 4G was the golden standard before 5G technology finally came around.

As each generation developed, new technologies and capabilities came to the fore. 3G was the first generation to bring us mobile data, letting our phones connect to the internet. 4G took this and added better speeds and more stability, ushering in the era of mobile broadband.

So, what is 5G? Essentially, it’s the next step in wireless technology, creating a network that’s bigger, faster and more stable than ever before.

What are the benefits of 5G vs 4G?

When first unveiled, everyone went crazy over how much faster 5G was than 4G. In a world where milliseconds matter, this is what we all cared about the most. However, alongside this, 5G presents some pretty substantial benefits that make it far better than all previous generations of mobile networks.

-) Increased Speeds - Yes, we can’t talk about 5G without mentioning the speeds. Download and upload speeds will vary depending on the strength of your signal, but we can give you an idea of the speed differences between 5G and 4G. On average, it can take 7 minutes to download an HD movie on 4G, this will now take 6 seconds on 5G. Previously, uploading a 5GB work file took 10 minutes, it now takes 9 seconds on a 5G network. These are staggering differences that show just how much faster your internet will be when you have 5G.

-) Increased Network Capacity - What does this mean? When we talk about network capacity, we refer to the maximum amount of data you can transfer between all of the different locations in a network. In simpler terms, it’s how many devices you have using the same network at once. With 4G, it was hard to get lots of devices on the same network before seeing issues like lag or network failures. 5G is designed to have a much larger capacity, so you can connect loads of devices to a network without seeing any problems. This will mean you can maintain high speeds, even when you’re in a busy area.

-) Decreased Latency - This is another technical term you see a lot, but won’t necessarily understand. In short, latency is the time taken for data to bounce between two devices. The best example is when you’re playing a video game. You press a button and a signal is sent to perform that action. High latency means you’re going to experience lag, meaning you press the button and you don’t perform the action immediately. 5G decreases latency, so things should be more responsive - which is perfect for any gamers reading this. For context, we’ve calculated that 4G provides over 20ms of lag, while 5G has less than 5ms.

There are other benefits of 5G when we view it from a societal perspective. It will help keep us connected, which is super important in a world where we have so many devices connected to the internet at once.

Is 5G expensive?

This is the question that concerns you the most. Is 5G expensive? In all honesty, it’s not expensive when you consider what you’re paying for when compared to similar 4G plans.

In fact, as of writing (Feb 2023), the base price of one of our 20 GB SIM cards is $18 a month. It’s an extra $7 a month to add 5G to the plan. Think about what you’re getting for that extra $7.

You’re receiving lightning speeds that can literally transform your life and make everything so much easier. If you use your device for streaming, 5G lets you stream in higher definition without worrying about buffering - 4G is unable to reach 4K quality without buffering issues.

Those of us that use our mobile device for work purposes can enjoy much faster upload times, making it easier than ever to upload documents and other work files. Likewise, you never have to worry about freezing during Zoom meetings ever again.

Lastly, for the gamers out there, the extra bit of money you pay for 5G almost completely eliminates any lag. You can play your game without getting annoyed at constant lag spikes ruining the experience.

More than all of this, you’re paying for new technology that’s here to stay. As the technology continues to advance and the infrastructure is further developed, 5G prices will steadily start to decrease (remember how much 4G cost as an add-on? It’s now a standard part of every plan). It’s fair to say the slightly higher prices won’t always be in effect, and if you love being the first to experience new tech, there’s no better time than now.

Summary: 5G is worth the upgrade, if you know why you need it

At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. If you want to experience the fastest speeds with minimal disruptions and better network capacity, 5G is the way to go. It’s a premium service, which is why it is narrowly more expensive than 4G at the moment.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean it’s “expensive”. This technology represents exceptional value for money when you look at what you gain. So, if you’re interested in starting your 5G journey, feel free to check out our current plans here.

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