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Phoenix introduction to 5G will take a while to become part of daily life

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PHOENIX – As excited as the tech world has been about Verizon’s recent announcement that 5G mobile internet was soon coming, including to Phoenix, it will take months to become reality.

“It’s going to take a long time for all of that to roll out,” consumer electronics expert Ken Colburn told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Monday.

“There are huge swatches of the country that still don’t even have 4G,” Colburn, CEO of Valley-based Data Doctors Computer Services, said.

Verizon said 5G Ultra Wideband will launch in 20 more cities before the end of the year. It’s already available in parts of Chicago, Illinois, and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The next-generation technology was built to reduce lag times in video chat to nearly zero, improve downloads from taking minutes down to seconds and wipe out buffering in streaming, the company said.

The Verge reported prices will start at $85 a month for the basic one-line plan, a jump of $10.

“If you’re buying into the future of connected cities and self-driving cars … 5G plays a huge role in that because we have to have millions of sensors all around us for this technology to actually be effective,” Colburn said.

“Every street light, every sidewalk, everything in your environment” will need a sensor, Colburn said.

There will be no need for fiber optic cables, saving cities the cost of digging and laying lines.

“Right now with 4G technology … 4G couldn’t handle that many devices,” he added.

Coverage such as 5G will require several small transmitters in an area maybe only a half-mile apart, as opposed to the typical large cell towers.

“You’re going to start to see (5G) deployed in high-density areas like stadiums, airports. … Place with lots of people,” Colburn said.

“It is wonderful, but this is going to take some time.”

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