5G EXPLAINED: Incredible technology about to hit phones
Smart cities and remote surgery are on the horizon for Australia thanks to a piece of groundbreaking new technology.
The 5G network is rolling out across Australia, and if you don't know what that means don't worry.
Simply put, it means the internet on your phone is about to get a whole lot better.
This is because the network will soon able to carry an unprecedented amount of data in a fraction of the time taken by previous systems.
Not only will your internet work faster, 5G opens up a whole world of possibilities when combined with other technologies.
SO WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM 5G IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
It's possible entire cities could soon be connected via 5G networks - meaning cars, traffic lights and even pedestrians could be linked.
This means our cities could become more efficient, cost-effective, smoother and safer.
Cities such as Barcelona, Spain, are already using smart city technology, such as sensor-embedded parking spots that connect with an app directing drivers to available spaces.
It pretty much means you can find a park every time.
The networks could also bring major benefits to our health - by making wireless remote surgery possible.
Using artificial itelligence robotics, virtual reality and augmented reality simulations, this could offer rare medical procedures to rural communities.
It also opens the door for hi-tech virtual reality (VR) for enhanced entertainment.
Imagine streaming a high-quality concert or sport match from your living room through VR googles, which make you feel like you're part of the audience.
GOOD NEWS FOR GAMERS AND PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE DRIVING
One of the major improvements 5G will give us - aside from quicker speeds, better bandwidth and network efficiency - is ultra-low latency.
Simply put, latency refers to how quickly a mobile network can send data from point A to point B. Think of it as the time it takes for your to switch a light switch on and the milliseconds it takes for the light globe to glow.
Latency improvements provided by the 5G network over the next two years will make the internet even faster.
This will result in quicker response times for online gamers, and the larger bandwidth of the 5G network will mean improved experience for multiple users on the same network.
It could also result in safer driverless technology.
It's expected self-driving cars will use the capabilities of the 5G network via low latency communications and large bandwidths will allow for driverless cars to be interconnected with one another and their environment.
OK, HOW DO I GET HOLD OF 5G?
5G will not completely replace 4G and the two networks will continue to work together for the foreseeable future.
But if you want to make the switch, there are a couple of options.
In the first few years you might have to pay a little extra. For instance, Telstra plans to charge $15 extra for 5G after the first 12 months on all but its top-tier plans.
Optus is yet to announce any similar surcharge.
The 5G Home Broadband bundle it introduced as the centrepiece of its 5G network offers unlimited data for $70 a month, which is around the same as what other telcos charge for their unlimited NBN plans.
Optus insists this 5G offering will complement the NBN rather than compete with it.
You can check if you have access by going to optus.com.au/5G and entering your address.
Customers in selected areas across Australia can now access Optus 5G Home Broadband with unlimited data for $70 a month.