San Diego

Is It Time for a New 5G Phone?

The latest technology requires a new smartphone

Faster speeds are coming to your smart phone, but those speeds will come at a price. 5G is being rolled out in San Diego, but to take advantage of the technology you will have to buy a new phone.

Today, 5G compatible phones cost anywhere from $800 to more than $1,000.  So are the extra features worth the additional price?

"5G is for the tech enthusiast, the early adopters, the people who need the flagship phones with the hottest features," said Scott Peterson, senior analyst with Gap Intelligence. "For the other people it's overkill."

San Diego is on the list of cities seeing a rollout of the new technology. T-Mobile and AT&T have made a splash, touting the faster speeds and benefits for video streaming and other uses. But Peterson says those benefits can vary depending on where the system is established.

"Knowing where the 5G exists and where you are in relation to the 5G will help determine if it is right for you," Peterson said.

He said for now, 80% of smartphone users probably would not benefit from the extra speed and other features.

Also 5G is limited in most cities, some restricted to city streets and parks.

Cheaper 5G compatible phones are expected to be released in Spring 2020 and Apple may not unveil a 5G iPhone until Fall.

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