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‘How do I know if my cell phone is 5G?’: questions about the arrival of technology in Brazil

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Amid the arrival of 5G in some regions of the country, the topic has been increasingly discussed and searched on the internet.

In the last seven days, one of the most searched questions on Google was “how do I know if my cell phone is 5G?”, according to data from Google Trends, which scales searches on the platform.

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So far, the technology is already available in the following Brazilian cities: Brasília (DF), Belo Horizonte (MG), Porto Alegre (RS), João Pessoa (PB) and São Paulo (SP).

Users will immediately benefit from a higher connection speed, both for downloading and sending files via cell phone, in addition to a faster response time and greater stability.

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The forecast is that the new generation of mobile internet will be available throughout the country in the coming years.

Despite being increasingly publicized, the topic still raises numerous doubts. Below, BBC News Brasil answers some of the main questions that have been asked on the subject.

What is 5G and what does this technology allow?

It is the next generation of mobile internet connection that offers speeds to download and send files much faster.

“4G works with an average speed of 17.1 Mbps (megabits per second), and can reach up to 100 Mbps. 5G can reach up to 1 and 10 Gbps (gigabits per second, or 1 billion bits per second) , that is, up to a hundred times more than 4G. The communication (or response time, as professionals in the area call it) of 5G is much higher: 1 to 5 milliseconds against 50 to 70 milliseconds of 4G”, details Eder Carlos Amador , coordinator of the Computer Science course at Faculdade Anhanguera.

This technology will allow smartphone activities to be done much faster. In practical terms, 5G allows, for example, to download a high definition movie in about a minute.

Video game users should notice less lag — or latency, a term used by experts — when pressing a button and seeing the effect on the screen. Mobile videos should be almost instantaneous and flawless.

Video calls should become clearer and “hang” less. Healthcare devices can monitor your body in real time, alerting doctors as soon as any emergency arises.

Many think 5G will be crucial for autonomous vehicles to communicate with each other and read maps and live traffic data.

Imagine swarms of drones cooperating to carry out search and rescue missions, fire assessments and traffic monitoring, all communicating wirelessly with each other and with ground bases over 5G networks.

“Technology opens up a range of possibilities, especially in the field of the internet of things. Cars could have high-precision sensors to avoid accidents, traffic lights on the streets could be interconnected to improve traffic, our homes could be equipped with a multitude of intelligent objects to perform various tasks. Those science fiction scenes in which everything in our daily lives will be permeated by technology, this seems closer than ever”, says Amador.

How do I know if my cell phone is 5G?

Not all cell phones have access to 5G. The devices that have this technology already come with this feature directly from the factory, says Luiz Puppin, manager of the Training Center of the technology company FiberX.

“Since 2019, some devices have already started to come with this technology. They arrived imported to Brazil. To activate this option you have to be in a region where there is an antenna that offers this signal”, he explains. It is necessary for the operator to offer the 5G service.

In the current phase, cell phones that have 5G are those that have a little more technology to support this new frequency. This information is available in the technical data sheets of the devices.

“Cellular devices need to support this technology, just like in the 4G era. Today it is even easier to find cell phones with 5G. When this technology began to be implemented, it only existed in the most sophisticated devices. around R$ 2 thousand”, says Puppin.

Over time, it is expected that all models will incorporate compatibility, as happened with 4G, used commercially in Brazil for the first time in late 2012.

Why do we need 5G?

The world is going mobile and we are consuming more data each year, especially with the rise in popularity of video and music streaming.

The bandwidth spectrum, used for internet services, is getting congested, leading to service failures, especially when many people in the same area are trying to access mobile services at the same time.

5G is much better at handling thousands of devices simultaneously, from cell phones to equipment sensors, video cameras and smart street lights.

“With 5G we can have smarter cities, which 4G cannot do on a large scale. 5G will be able to support things like measuring water, gas or energy at a distance and other technologies that already exist, but cannot be used on a large scale. because 4G can’t because it doesn’t support so much volume of simultaneous devices per square kilometer”, says Puppin.

How long will it take to reach the whole country?

In Brazil, the main bands of 5G technology were purchased by the giants Claro, Tim and Vivo. And local operators have also bought tracks specifically in the regions they operate. “These big operators will cover the whole of Brazil”, explains Puppin.

“Data (from 5G) is transmitted over shorter radio waves, so for coverage to be effective, you need a greater number of antennas distributed in a smaller geographic space – but that transmit the data in a much larger and more The technology will allow – believe me – up to 1 million devices to be connected in an area of ​​just one square kilometer”, says Amador.

There is no exact date for 5G to reach the entire country, but the expectation is that the signal will reach all Brazilian municipalities with up to 30,000 inhabitants by the end of 2029.

Even in cities where it has already arrived, 5G is not present in all areas. In São Paulo, for example, coverage is concentrated in the expanded center, between the Tietê and Pinheiros riverbanks, in addition to another part of the west zone and the beginning of the south zone of the city, according to Anatel.

The area with the highest concentration of 5G antennas in São Paulo is where there is a greater concentration of business buildings, employment centers and families with greater purchasing power, according to Folha de S.Paulo.

“This technology was deployed in a few chosen locations in these cities, the areas that are more economically viable or more politically exposed. Brazil has a size that will take a long time for uniform 5G coverage. If you are in an area with 5G, you have walked and left the 5G area, the cell phone does not lose its connection, it enters the 4G network normally and continues browsing. You will only lose the speed of 5G and go back to 4G”, explains Puppin.

This text was originally published here.

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