By Adrienne Broaddus and Precious Fondren
St. PAUL - We like things to move fast. Our drive home from work, the wait for food and getting through airport security.
And, since most of our lives are spent on our phones, from uploading pictures to streaming music and videos, we want speedy wifi
Now, AT&T is trying to fill that void.
Expanding its roll out of 5G technology, AT&T is adding Minneapolis and Chicago to the markets previously targeted for the next-gen wireless service. The move could potentially provide millions with 5G speeds before the year is over.
Kyle Opdahl with Cell Phone Repair says the market craves the new technology.
“5G is a very fast way to transmit data over cellphone towers,” Opdahl said. “4G is the current one on market. Comparable to Wifi. 5G is supposed to be 20x as fast. I can’t even tell you what it is going to go to because my imagination just doesn't go that big.”
The company says it is adding to work already completed in Minneapolis ahead of the Super Bowl last year.
But before you upgrade, Opdahl recommends to proceed with caution. Opdahl says new technology may cost the consumer more. Also, he said you may not pay for what you get. For example, consumers may pay for the 5g upgrade, but not receive coverage in all areas. Instead, it will default to the next fastest speed wherever you are.
“It could be a 5G Market. That doesn't mean they are in a 5G area. Imagine a box of technology … When new technology comes out, like 4G. they get it on as many of the popular towers that they can in the area,” he said. “When they roll out 5G they are going to put those boxes on each one of those towers
Indeed, consumers and businesses are consuming more data at faster speeds and connecting more devices said Lisa Schlosser, Interim CEO of Minnesota High Tech Association.
"This appetite will only continue to grow. Faster speeds, more connections, increased use of smart devices, and reduced latency are a great recipe for innovation," she told us via e-mail. "That is why the Minnesota High Tech Association is so excited that AT&T will be bringing 5G to the Twin Cities in 2019,” Schlosser said. “This will enable further innovation across the technology spectrum, from Health IT and telemedicine to connected devices and vehicles, and more. Minnesota has a history of being on the forefront of technology, and we are excited to see our technology ecosystem continue to develop with 5G."
Schlosser said public policy can play an important role in helping technologies develop in Minnesota.
"The small cell legislation passed a couple years ago in the state legislature is great example and could help accelerate the deployment of 5G in Minnesota," she said. "It’s exciting to see these changes being led in MN!"