“I think these are all going to be resolved, so they can safely coexist in my opinion,” said Cenk Gursoy, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Syracuse University. President Joe Biden released a statement Tuesday, echoing his hope that the dispute would be resolved. Cell phone users could see big benefits once phone companies expand their 5G network. “On average, your speeds will go up, and this will happen when you have a 5G cell phone, and you’re in an area with the 5G deployment that has service,” said Neal Patwari, a professor of electrical and systems engineering at Washington University.
Expanded 5G services were due to launch this week, but as part of a federal request, AT&T and Verizon decided to postpone them for two weeks. Transportation officials are concerned that the frequency used for 5G is too close to that used by planes, compromising flight safety. Meanwhile, phone companies contend that they’ve conducted their own research and found that 5G will have no impact on flight safety. They go on to say that obtaining exclusive usage of the frequency has cost them billions of dollars.
“And so, with the 5G now going into these different frequency bands, the other frequency bands used in previous generation of wireless networks, 4G, maybe it’s going to be more available,” Gursoy said. That means even those who do not have a 5G capable phone may still see higher speeds because fewer people will be using the 4G network. Researchers say any cost difference will depend on a particular carrier, but bandwidth is expected to keep increasing.
“People are right now working on 6G,” Patwari said. “We’re looking into the technologies that will help improve the bandwidth and the rate at which you can get your data, and your video on your phone. And they’re going to keep working on that.” Patwari says the pandemic has only highlighted the demand for more bandwidth because more people are using video chatting technology for remote work and school.