5G should be fast and free

5G internet
Man with phone
5G, the next wireless technology generation, promises to offer many things. Big games and films can be downloaded in no time. It will connect all kinds of appliances from street lamps to self-driving cars around you. It will allow fresh fields such as streaming VR and telemedicine experiences.

There will come at least one more prospective effect: a hit on your wallet.

Wireless carriers rarely like giving away anything free of charge. And given the hype and excitement over 5G, tackling another charge on your phone plan seems like an ideal plan.

We have to agree with CNET on this one. Lay off the charges for once.

CNET’s 5G service test around the globe, which included four nations, 11 towns and seven carriers, discovered a mixed bag of incredible speeds and wildly inconsistent coverage. In short, for anyone who wants to make the leap, 5G will be a shaky experience, and we advise you to exercise a little patience before you buy a 5G phone.

Man holding phone
As new networks spring up, growing pains are inevitable, and this is all the more reason for carriers to resist the urge to charge extra fees for the privilege of accessing 5G. Early adopters should not be charged on the work-in-progress nature of these networks.

For example, Verizon waived the $10 a month 5G fee for customers who purchased 5G Moto Mod or Galaxy S10 5G. But the business should go the additional mile and completely eliminate the fee.

Sprint is not charging a premium, but needs you to sign up for its “Unlimited Premium” plan of $80.

Neville Ray, T-Mobile CTO, told CNET back in March that he didn’t think carriers should charge extra for 5G, a point CEO John Legere reiterated.

“You can’t go to a US consumer and charge them a big premium and it works on three street corners,” said Ray.

Hopefully, that won’t change once T-Mobile and the other carriers are building up their 5G networks to the point where those increasing pains are gone. This is probably the case, given the rumored price locks T-Mobile and Sprint are prepared to agree to complete their merger.

AT&T, which launched its 5G company network in December but did not make it accessible to consumers, did not provide its clients with specific pricing plans.

“Our focus is on providing the best experiences at competitive prices,” a spokeswoman for the business said.

Beyond fees, carriers should remove the data limitations that call for throttling once a certain amount of data has been consumed. For example, under 4G, Verizon’s $60-a-month “AboveUnlimited” scheme provides the carrier the right to restrict you if 75 gigabytes of information have been hit. The $50 “Magenta Plus” schedule from T-Mobile has a 50GB throttling cap before the carrier can slow you down during heavy congestion periods.

Initially, the carriers did the correct thing. For example, when you’re on its 5G network, Verizon has no constraints.

Every carrier should consider this. If you’re going to enjoy 5G speeds on a regular basis, you’re going to rapidly reach those boundaries. It’s an issue faced by CNET editor Daniel Van Boom during his Australian 5G speed tests.

These are not radical demands. When 4G LTE service was implemented by the carriers, they did not pay an additional cost. They also had no throttling boundaries.

The enhanced speed of 4G, of course, prompted an explosion in data usage something the carriers have had to handle over the last decade.

And for new services and applications, 5G will serve as the catalyst. But we need to guarantee a broad highway free of tolls to get to that bright future.

That will make it much easier to tolerate the little speedbumps CNET has encountered along the manner.

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