Smartphone expert breaks down what you need to know about 5G and data roaming
In recent months we’ve seen the arrival of 5G, an ultra-fast step up from 4G that can deliver rapid download speeds. However, with 71.7 million people in the UK taking trips abroad last year.
The experts at Mobiles.co.uk, a leading online smartphone retailer, have shared their advice on what you need to know when it comes to accessing 5G around the world.
What is data roaming?
Firstly, it’s important to understand what is meant by data roaming. This is a setting on your handset that tells your phone and your network that you will be utilising mobile data outside of the standard coverage area. Some mobiles networks allow you to use data roaming as part of your regular monthly data package, however, some will charge (particularly if you’re travelling outside of the EU), so it’s always best to check before you travel.
What is 5G and which phones have it?
The 5G network is the fifth generation of mobile network technology. Just like 3G and 4G, 5G connects your smartphone to the internet using the mobile network, but this latest update offers unrivalled speeds due to its ability to access higher frequencies.
At the moment, the handsets that are capable of connecting to 5G are:
So, can you access 5G while roaming?
Whilst 5G most definitely supports data roaming, the ability to use it whilst travelling abroad is a different question.
You’ll first of all need to make sure you have a 5G ready handset, such as those listed above, and you’ll then need to make sure your network supports 5G and 5G roaming, as well as making sure it covers the location you’re travelling to – the easiest way to do this is to get in touch with your network directly.
As 5G is still in the early stages of being introduced, it’s likely to take some time for a successful roll out not only in the UK, but globally. Once 5G coverage is more widely available internationally, using data roaming with a 5G connection will be just as easy as it currently is on 4G.
There are some locations around the world that have started to roll out 5G networks, including the UK, albeit in select locations only. These are[:
- UK (in most major cities, although some will have limited connectivity)
- United States (Central and South America are likely to see a slower roll out)
- Asia (The network is live in places, but widespread coverage isn’t expected until 2020)
Andrew Cartledge, the Mobile Expert at Mobiles.co.uk, commented: “The rollout of 5G is undoubtedly one of the biggest developments in the smartphone industry in recent years. Given the scale of the operation, getting to a stage where we have widespread access to a 5G connection will naturally take some time, so we’re generally not likely to see widespread commercial rollout until 2020 – although things are moving pretty quickly.”
“If you have plans to travel abroad, regardless of whether you intend to access 5G or not, our advice is always to check your data roaming allowance with your network provider before you jet off.”