What is 5G?

5G is the next generation of wireless technology. It follows on from earlier technologies, such as 3G and 4G.

It offers three main benefits: wider channels (speed), lower latency (responsiveness) and more bandwidth (the ability to connect multiple devices).

Most of the first smartphones had 3G, and 4G enabled faster downloads, browsing and streaming. 4G users could download songs and videos, and watch films on the go.

The four major UK mobile networks have launched their own 5G services and are currently rolling them out across the UK. Several tech firms are doing the same.

What does 5G mean?

5G means ‘fifth generation’ – as it’s the fifth generation of this kind of wireless technology. 4G stood for ‘fourth generation’, and 3G stood for ‘third generation’.

What does 5G do?

5G delivers higher data speeds, ultra-low latency, more reliability, massive network capacity, increased availability, and a better user experience. This means faster downloads, uploads and no more buffering when you’re watching a video or streaming on TikTok.

The improved performance and efficiency of 5G allows people to stay better connected, do the things they love without worrying about lagging or buffering, and allows industries to develop new products.

What is 5G used for?

5G technology is used by individuals and businesses – the connectivity benefits ensure businesses can stay connected, and individual people can access information faster than before.

Examples of 5G use in technology include connected cars, smart communities, IoT, and immersive online teaching.

Which phones have 5G?

Retailers are bringing out 5G phones more and more frequently – take a look at our dedicated 5G phones page to see if there’s a device that’s right for you.

Similar terms

2G | 3G | 4G