5G is the fifth generation cellular network technology.  Most telcos that have introduced such a technology have branded it to highlight its much faster internet speeds than the prevailing 4G or LTE, sometimes up to 700 Mbps, claiming that downloads of full HD films can be completed in only a few seconds.   

As at 2019, 5G is a fairly new technology with only a handful of telcos rolling it out only this year.  Therefore to enjoy 5G, you need to use a telco that offers 5G service, purchase a plan that includes 5G speeds, have a handset that is 5G-ready, and be in a city/town with 5G coverage.  

5G-ready Phones[edit | edit source]

At the moment, it is mostly Android handsets that are capable of providing 5G speeds. Unfortunately, Apple's recently-launched iPhone 11 line does not feature such capabilities.[1]

  • Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
  • OnePlus 7 Pro 5G
  • LG V50 ThinQ
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G
  • Oppo Reno 5G

Availability by Country[edit | edit source]

As telcos have only started rolling 5G out, it is highly likely that within countries that offer 5G, not every city or town has 5G coverage yet.  Tariffs that include 5G access are generally more expensive than those that include only 4G, LTE, or lower speeds. At the moment, Three in the UK says that all its SIM cards are 5G-ready, while in the US, T-mobile (through its subsidiary Metro) plans to do so in 2019. It has yet to be seen when other telcos will offer 5G to their prepaid users.[2][3]    

  • Republic of Ireland - Vodafone (partial)
  • Italy - Vodafone (partial), TIM (partial)
  • Monaco - Monaco Telecom
  • San Marino - TIM San Marino
  • Romania - Vodafone (partial)
  • South Korea - SK Telecom, KT, LG U+
  • Switzerland - Sunrise, Swisscom
  • UK - EE (partial), Three (partial), Vodafone (partial)
  • Uruguay - Artel 
  • US - AT&T (partial), Sprint (partial), T-Mobile (partial), Verizon (partial)

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Given that only a handful of countries have only started rolling out 5G, only selected cities within those countries have 5G coverage, and only a few handsets are 5G-compatible (the iPhone not being one of them), there is absolutely no pressure on the consumer to find a 5G prepaid SIM just yet. A 4G- or LTE-enabled device will continue to work just fine for even heavy video streaming and most prepaid SIM cards circulating will be able to offer 4G. If you want to experience super fast downloads on your phone, your other best bet will be to connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot that offers such.

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