Will 4G Phones Work on 5G Network? Let’s Debunk the Myth

Will 4G phones work on the 5G network as the 5G network goes global? That’s the concern gripping many mobiles users right now. While many are talking about the 5G revolution taking mobile communications by storm with its enormous bandwidth capacity, there are many 4G users who fear that once their carriers switch on the 5G network, their 4G phones will turn obsolete.

4G is over a decades-old and 5G is set to overwhelm it with a major leap in wireless communications while the telco gear vendors such as Ericcson, Samsung are already talking of 6G tests by 2028. Many countries have already set a date on shutting down their legacy networks and 4G phone owners are also growing skeptical. But will the advent of 5G phones turn your existing phones dysfunctional?

Check out: 5G Network Types; NSA VS SA, Low band to High band, Private 5G

The Answer is a ‘No’

The answer gravitates towards a ‘no’ more than yes. But it requires two cases scenario for clarification. Does the question mean a 4G phone connects to 5G and delivers the promised performance? If it’s the case, it’s a blatant ‘No’. But in case, the carrier shuts down the 4G network and only keeps 5G afloat, then yes. Your phone won’t work much. But it’s not happening any time soon or at least for a foreseeable future.

For now, most of us are totally buoyed by the huge potential of 5G speed and how we can download GBs of files within seconds. However, there is a swath of smartphone users who are wary that their phones may not function when the when 5G succeeds over the fourth-generation mobile network. Should we worry or should we not? Let’s delve into it.

Do read: UK Preparing For 2G/3G Shutdown By 2033

Carriers Don’t Shut Down the Existing Network Immediately

A newer and better technology embarks but it doesn’t mean the existing one shuts down right away. For an instance, let’s start with the 3G and 4G scenarios.

Before you were using 4G, you were on a third-generation mobile network. When the carrier began the fourth-generation mobile network aka LTE, your phone still worked. Whether your phone did connect to 4G is another matter altogether. Why so? Because carriers just don’t abandon the existing technology when they have an improved version and it is more about whether your phone has support for the next-gen network or not. The same case holds to 4G phones working on a 5G network.

China 3.64 mn 5G base stations
A technician at the 5G base station of China Mobile

By the time the 5G network becomes the norm, millions of phone users will still be on 4 G-supported handsets. Switching off the 4G network means a disruption to the consumers’ communication services and the states and regulators won’t do that. They will gradually displace the previous networks by migrating the users of the phone to 5G.

Also read: China To Deploy 3.64 MN 5G Base Stations By 2025

It’s About Compatibility

Whether your phone supports 5G or not is more important than the fear of your phone turning into a brick. When carriers launch 5G, they launch it as an option for their subscribers and not as one and only option. If you want to reap the benefit of the 5G broadband, you will need to have a phone with 5G support so that it connects to the base station and return blazing fast internet browsing. Otherwise, you can still use your phone for voice calls and broadband on 4G LTE.

5G Won’t Replace 4G Phones

There is still a lot to be done for the fifth-generation cellular network. Building an entirely new infrastructure has been rather an obstacle for carriers. It has forced them to deploy a 5G network on the existing 4G network in low band (below 1 GHz). What this means is despite the hype around 5G, in reality, meeting the expectation is not as easy. Carriers still rely on the existing 4G equipment to roll out their 5G network (aka Nonstandalone NSA 5G) and thus it rules out 5G forcing the 4G network into extinction at least for 5 years more.

Check out: Evolution of Mobile Technology (1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, 6G)

Do I Need To Buy A 5G Phone?

If you are content with 4G speed or legacy networks for voice calls, and internet needs, you are good with it your existing phone. carriers won’t shut down 4G network for the next decade or more, to say the least. But if you want next-level mobile broadband with hyperbolic capacities, you will need a phone that comes with the support for the coveted technology. The 5G ecosystem is gearing up though and if you want rewarding mobile entertainment, a 5G phone is your choice.

Do you have more of such an urban myth regarding 5G? If so let us know more about it the below comments.

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