Carrier How important is 5G? Will I regret not buying a 5G phone?

TSE

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
3,126
879
St. Paul, Minnesota
I plan on purchasing the new XR (or whatever is it’s equivalent) when it is released this year.

I am a world traveler and will be spending significant time in Asia, specifically China. So the way their networks are might be different.

For those who are going to be purchasing an iPhone this year without 5G capabilities, will they regret it in a couple years? Be forced to upgrade on a shorter cycle than the average phone? Is it foolish to not buy a 5G device for future proofing?
 

jtara

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2009
1,972
523
OMG, do NOT take your iPhone to Jina! (Or Russia. Or Korea - either of them. Or Israel. Not picking sides here...)

Just get a cheap burner flip-phone, and assume that nothing is private.

5G network buildout is going to take a long time. It is not going to happen over night. It's a moot point for at least a couple of years. A 5G phone MIGHT get you SOME advantage is some of the biggest cities.

I get a new phone every year anyway. (ATT Next Every Year plan.)
 

TSE

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
3,126
879
St. Paul, Minnesota
OMG, do NOT take your iPhone to Jina! (Or Russia. Or Korea - either of them. Or Israel. Not picking sides here...)

Just get a cheap burner flip-phone, and assume that nothing is private.

5G network buildout is going to take a long time. It is not going to happen over night. It's a moot point for at least a couple of years. A 5G phone MIGHT get you SOME advantage is some of the biggest cities.

I get a new phone every year anyway. (ATT Next Every Year plan.)
I will be working and living there. What do you recommend?
 

Shirasaki

macrumors G4
May 16, 2015
10,267
4,103
I will be working and living there. What do you recommend?
Hold off for at least three years before buying a 5G device. There is a chance that where you work will not have valid 5G coverage.

As for the privacy side... just forget it. Get another device if possible, be it your phone, computer or something.
 

jtara

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2009
1,972
523
As far as the privacy aspect, the main reason I suggest getting a cheap flip-phone burner is to discourage you from putting anything private on the phone in the first place. iPhone encourages you to pour your entire private life into your phone.

An iPhone might be marginally more private (iMessages might be private, iCloud might be private. But not sure if they are currently required to store the data in China.)

Your calls and SMS messages will not be private, in any case. The less data on your phone, the better.

OTOH, a burner phone might get you more scrutiny at the border. Whatever you do, don't take 10 of them! ;) Buy one after you arrive.

I wouldn't take an iPhone outside of the U.S. And that's just to avoid the possibility of having it examined by U.S. authorities upon return, and the associated inconvenience. Better not to travel with a notebook if at all possible, as well. Both will be subjected to more and more scrutiny in the coming years, and both threaten to upset your schedule should you glance at somebody the wrong way...
 

ajguckian

macrumors regular
Aug 9, 2012
113
135
Hudson Valley
I think we are at least 2 years away from 5G having any actual meaning to consumers, so I wouldn't worry about it, or rather, I'm not worrying about it.
 

Minorite

macrumors 6502a
May 8, 2018
502
117
Poland
I would suggest to wait until full release on new phones, doubt this year model will have 5G (or I've missed some interesting news).
 

now i see it

macrumors 603
Jan 2, 2002
5,709
11,696
Please..... China has what? A few billion smart phone users? Everyone has one. Apple sells millions of iPhones there every year.

But the traveling advice is sound. I don't think you need to go to the drastic measure of only owning a disposable flip phone, but personally, I'd backup my iPhone (IN THE USA) to iCloud (in the USA) then wipe it and restore as new. Then put only the most essential stuff on it that you don't care if anyone sees. Then it's no liability of it gets confiscated or searched through by authorities.

Don't backup to iCloud while in China, as the govt has access to iCloud data (in China). Apple has made a statement about that. "If you're concerned about security, don't use iCloud."
 

KOTN91

macrumors regular
Nov 23, 2017
206
139
By the time 5G is useable, practical and widespread, both the 2018 and 2019 iPhones will be more or less irrelevant. So it shouldn’t be a factor
 

bushman4

macrumors 68030
Mar 22, 2011
2,810
514
5G will be very important but not just yet
It will take a couple of years to build out the network to the point that it’s everywhere not just spotty and in certain places
The benefits will be great but the price will also be much higher. Most likely their will be different levels of speed, similar to your internet at home. And depending on what you use it for you’ll pick your speed level. But be assured that rack level will cost more
As for the benefit of having it on your cellphone...It will be the next big thing to come
 

killhippie

macrumors 6502
Jan 12, 2016
370
276
UK
Most will not see 5G for 4-5 years unless you live in a heavy populated area and even then it is a couple years down the road.

Apple was wise for waiting for another year before having 5G in their phones, right now they are still deciding on how it will work.
One of the UK providers (Vodafone) is switching on 5G next month in the UK in a few big cities with no extra charge over 4G, including one city I visit which is close to me. I'm still holding off though for a while, like 3G and 4G battery life I imagine may be effected and other issues might pop up, I would rather wait for bugs to be ironed out, and maybe version 2 of a 5G modem from Qualcomm if such a thing comes into existence.

I have long learnt not to jump onto the bleeding edge of technology it can hurt. Also on EE in the UK in my sleepy village and local city I get 120Mbps down and 38Mbps up which is all I need for now, nothing my phone does needs more throughput, tbh I think 5G is going to be more for broadband OTA or other IoT devices and electric car comms etc anyway long term and as people jump onto 5G, 4G will become less congested. Well that's my theory ;)
 
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