is it worth buying now? What’s different?

The new generation of data transmission, 5G, is finally spreading across the country. Four cities have already received it (Brasília, BH, João Pessoa and Porto Alegre) and all capitals should receive coverage by the end of September.

To take advantage of 5G, such as speeds up to 20 times faster than 4G, you need a compatible cell phone. Which leads many consumers to ask themselves: is it worth replacing the current device with a 5G one?

What changes with 5G?

In short, 5G allows downloads at speeds of up to gigabits per second. That is, you will be able to download movies in high quality in less than a minute.

There’s also the low latency: the response time between your command and its execution is much shorter. This feature is especially useful for those who play competitive online games like FreeFire or Fortnite. The connection is also more stable, allowing you to play games on 5G on an equal footing with people on a fixed internet connection.

In Brazil, there are three types of 5G:

  • 5G DSS: It uses 4G frequencies to offer faster internet (around 100 Mbps). The main operators already offer this modality in several cities, since 2020. It is a kind of “transition” to true 5G.
  • 5G NSA (Non Stadalone): It uses 5G frequency with the central part of the 4G network. It offers faster internet, in the range of gigabits per second, but does not have such low latency.
  • 5G SA (Standalone): Also known as pure 5G. It uses the frequency and core of a network dedicated only to it. It is what brings the complete package of benefits (and what is debuting in the capitals)

So is it worth switching phones?

For Mathias Naganuma, a specialist in digital communication and professor at the Impacta Faculty of Technology, it is a good idea if you are already thinking about changing your phone.

“In the future, you will invariably feel the need to have a cell phone with this technology”, he says. He warns that soon, new applications, products and services with 5G technology will become popular, requiring an appropriate device if you want to use them.

This “soon”, however, is debatable. For experts, the main benefits of 5G will be applied to advances in industry, health, agriculture and the infrastructure of cities. Self-driving cars, for example, need 5G.

It is in these segments that a good part of the investments in innovation should be concentrated.

The final consumer will end up benefiting “in the lullaby” of all this. News specifically focused on them and smartphones may take a while.

The biggest advantage for them, for now, will just be more speed to do what he’s already used to. In the case of gamers, there is also low latency, which allows for faster commands and reactions.

“The main current applications, such as Netflix, YouTube and Uber, were developed to work on 4G”, recalled Márcio Carvalho, marketing director at Claro, at the launch of 5G in Brasília. At that moment, he wanted to contextualize that, for now, 5G non-stand alone is enough for the consumer.

When does he arrive in your city?

Another point to consider is the schedule defined by Anatel (National Telecommunications Agency) for the expansion of coverage. Depending on where you live, the sign can take more than five years to implement.

Check the deadlines agreed with the operators that won the 5G auction:

  • Capitals: until September 29

  • Cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants: until July 2025

  • Cities with more than 200,000 inhabitants: until July 2026

  • Cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants: until July 2027

  • Cities with more than 30,000 inhabitants: until July 2028

It’s the price?

There is a wide variety of cell phones that are already compatible with the new generation. See complete list, according to Anatel.

The price varies according to the sophistication of each device, but there are affordable options. Tilt has already listed seven models with good value for money, starting at R$1,400.

However, for some consumers, using pure (or stand-alone) 5G can also mean a higher cost on the phone bill.

Customers of the Tim Black and Tim Black Família plans, for example, will have to pay R$20 more per month. In addition to the 5G connection, they will also receive an additional 50GB of data and benefits like unlimited streaming on the Twitch platform.

Claro and Vivo announced that they will not charge more from customers to have access to 5G in capitals, but in some cases it will be necessary to change the cell phone chip to have compatibility. In most cases, operators charge from R$10 to R$15 per piece.

According to Julian Alexienco Portillo, a researcher at the Mackenzie Center for Economic Freedom and an engineer at Nextest, a telecommunications equipment company, he justifies that operators are passing on the cost of investing in 5G infrastructure to consumers.

“Many antennas are necessary to guarantee the transmission of the signal. Brazil does not have this technology and, with the new system, it also demands more specifically qualified labor”, he explains.

Portillo also points out that the country imports a good part of the components and equipment used in this transition, which makes the cost more expensive, since the real is devalued against the dollar.

*With information from Tilt reports by Letícia Naísa, Marcella Duarte and Guilherme Tagiaroli

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