Like them or not, cell towers provide the signals that power mobile devices and soon, they will be sending out a new generation of technology called "5G" that will be hundreds of times faster than what exists today. And, device maker Samsung says its lab in South Korea has already tested it and will have it ready by 2020.
Analysts say Samsung is out to displace Apple as a tech leader. "You would have looked to Apple if it was a year ago," tech analyst Jeff Kagan said. "I think Samsung wants to take the place of Apple. They want to be the leader in the thought space about what the industry is going to look like. They want to help create an atmosphere which everybody can get excited about," said.
Samsung has already been winning over consumers with its latest smartphone, the S4. And, with its plans for a faster 5G network, consumers see Samsung in a new light. "I was with Apple for the last two years. That was the first smartphone that I got and I never thought I would leave. And, I just switched over about two weeks ago," engineering graduate student Yohannes Samuel told ABC7 News.
It will take two or three years just to create international 5G standards and to find wireless spectrum to deploy it, but the need is there as mobile devices are used for more data-intensive applications. By 2017, Cisco predicts a wireless data deluge. "There will be 134 Exabytes of mobile data on the internet, which is by the way, just to put it in simple terms, that's 134 times the entire internet's traffic that existed in 2000," said Cisco Mobility Software and Applications VP Shailesh Shukla.
Samsung is clearly being more transparent than others about where it's heading. Competition is good for consumers and it could lead to more innovation and more choices. For 5G, we're still talking about another six, maybe seven years from now. Can you wait? You're not going to have any choice.