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Predictions for 5G in 2018


For the past few years, CSPs and optimists have been pushing the concept of 5G internet—which purports to be fast and reliable enough to replace your home internet. Already, major providers are hinting that 5G internet will be available by the end of 2018, but are these estimations realistic? And if so, what will the world look like when it rolls out?

Predictions for 5G

These are some of our best predictions, based on the information we have now:

  1. City-specific rollouts. The definitive answer is yes, 5G internet is coming in 2018—the catch is, it might not be coming to your city. Most carriers are planning to do a gradual rollout, offering 5G infrastructure in select major cities before expanding throughout the country. AT&T, for example, is planning to release 5G in a dozen cities, including Dallas, Atlanta, and Waco, Texas, with other cities to be announced soon. Similarly, Verizon is planning to launch its 5G network in Sacramento in the second half of 2018.
  2. Unfortunately, even these gradual rollouts may be fraught with delays. Understandably, CSPs typically work with optimistic estimates; they want to be seen as the best and the boldest and want to offer better service to their customers as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, those optimistic projections rarely align with reality. For example, at a recent Q&A forum by Heavy Reading’s Thought Leadership Council, it was made evident that network buildouts are still in need of vendors; only 15 percent of council members have chosen the vendors they plan to use, while 31 percent haven’t even started the vendor selection process. It’s likely that the “best estimates” of major CSPs won’t pan out, and we’ll see at least some delays pushing initial launches into 2019.
  3. A dearth of 5G devices. CSPs may be aggressive in establishing the antennas and infrastructure to provide mobile 5G internet in major cities, but that doesn’t change the fact that we may still be years away from the availability of 5G-enabled devices. At CES 2018, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon suggested he expected 5G-enabled devices to be ready by the start of 2019. It’s possible that competing smartphone manufacturers will attempt to get a 5G phone to market sooner, in anticipation of networks being established by the end of 2018, but there’s no guarantee of their reliability.
  4. Regardless of the delays in both hardware and infrastructure, it’s likely that at least some customers will have access to 5G internet by the end of 2018. And with projections of gigabit speeds and dramatically reduced latency, they’re going to be very excited. Once some consumers are exposed to the blazing speeds of 5G, consumers demand for the network will likely skyrocket, and hardware providers and CSPs alike will be in an even hotter race to expand their market. In other words, once 5G is available and established, it’s going to spread fast.
  5. Consumer interest in wearables. After experiencing the realities of 5G internet, consumers will start to show increased interest in wearable devices (and the on-the-go apps unique to them) and IoT gadgets that didn’t look as attractive with a 4G connection. Like smartphones, wearable devices may see a slight delay in their 5G-specific development, but once they start to become available, consumer demand will spike.

Waiting for more news

Until we see CSPs plans for 5G manifest, in reality, we only have their press releases and projected plans to work from. Expect to see more updates from CSPs as the year progresses, for better or for worse, and if you’re lucky, you might see an early-stage 5G network crop up in your city. Even if 2018 isn’t the year 5G internet takes over, it should at least set the stage for 5G in 2019—after all, CSPs, hardware suppliers, consumers, and app developers are all counting o


Larry Alton
Larry Alton
Larry is a professional blogger, writer, and researcher who contributes to a number of reputable online media outlets and news sources including,, and, among others. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, Larry is also active in his community and spend weekends volunteering with a local non-profit literacy organization and rock climbing. He is a graduate of Iowa State University.

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