Dale F., Feb 24, 2019 : Hi friends, Every once in a while, something huge happens in the world of technology that completely changes the way we live, work, and communicate. The 19th century brought us the telephone, the 20th century saw the introduction of smartphones and the internet, and 2019 is set to be the year when a brand new wireless technology lets these three things evolve into something even more revolutionary. We're talking, of course, about 5G. Thanks to its pending arrival, our lives are about to change forever. But what exactly is 5G? And what makes it so great? To find the answers to these questions, join us on the first of our 5G Open Courses as we take a look at the long road that paved the way for this exciting new mobile technology. 1G: Answering the call The first commercial mobile networks were launched in the 1980s. Back then, the main player was the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, whose star feature was…being able to make and receive phone calls - and that’s about it. Mainly owned by wealthy businesspeople or celebrities, mobile phones were a huge status symbol in those days. And even though their functionality was practically prehistoric compared with the phones of today, the fact that calls could be made on the go signaled a shift in the way the world communicated. The Motorola Dynatec weighed around 800 grams and cost roughly the equivalent of $10,000 in today’s currency. Image credit: TIME 2G: The mobile web arrives Mobile web browsing arrived shortly after the creation of digital 2G networks in the 1990s. Phones such as the Nokia 3330 let users access things like text-based sports scores and weather updates on the go, at speeds of around 14 kbit/s on tiny, monochrome displays. After the introduction of GPRS, and then later EDGE (both sometimes called 2.5G and 2.75G) networks, users in most markets could get online at relatively fast speeds of up to 236 kbit/s, although the mobile web was still a very stripped-down version of the regular internet. These networks also introduced MMS, which allowed users to send and receive photo, video, and audio messages. Early web-enabled phones offered very basic internet capabilities. We've certainly come a long way since then. Image credit: Wikimedia commons 3G: Speeds get serious The first commercial 3G networks and devices appeared in the early 2000s, giving users internet speeds of around 384 kbit/s. Early 3G phones (such as the NEC e808, which looks a lot like the Star Trek Communicator) took features like video calls out of science fiction and into the palms of users’ hands. A few years later, HSPA (3.5G) and then HSPA+ (3.75G) technology pushed those speeds even further. Matched with the power and versatility of smartphones, we could finally do things on the road that were only previously possible on computers, such as stream HD videos and browse the full web as it was meant to be seen. The 3G era brought us video calling and fast web browsing, like something from a sci-fi movie. Image credit: Wikimedia commons 4G: Life in the fast lane Following the introduction of 4G networks around 2010, downloads speeds increased even further, letting us do things like seamlessly stream 4K videos and play online games on mobile devices with little to no lag. One of the most interesting uses of 4G, however, is that it allows people living in remote areas without a reliable internet infrastructure to finally be able to get online at fast speeds. The speed of 4G finally blurred the lines between traditional and mobile data connections. The fast speeds of 4G allow it to be used in place of traditional home internet connections in rural areas. Image credit: EE 5G: Everything changes If you think 4G is fast, you haven't seen anything yet. The theoretical speed of 5G in the future will go all the way up to a crazy 20 Gbps, which is a whole lot quicker than even the best of wired internet connections. With that kind of speed, there’s no end to the kinds of things that 5G will make possible. We’ll be able to download 4K movies in the time it takes to tie a shoelace, or explore virtual reality with people from all around the world in real time. What’s more, dreams of cities filled with smart buildings and autonomous cars can finally become a reality. Just think of the movies I, Robot and Ready Player One. That kind of technology is closer than ever - all thanks to the super-high speed and super-low delay of 5G. Once 5G becomes widespread, it will cover entire countries, connecting us all without the need for WiFi or wired connections. 5G networks are necessary for the success of self-driving cars and smart cities. Image credit: Ericsson We hope you enjoyed the first part of our 5G Open Course series. Want to show us what you've learned? We've prepared a quick quiz for you. Any member who completes every 5G Open Course quiz will be awarded with an exclusive OnePlus 5G Scholar badge. What's more, if you're skilled enough to score 100% on every quiz in the series, you'll receive an awesome OnePlus 5G Scholar E-Certificate! Click here to take part. In the meantime, we want to know what you, our community members, are looking forward to the most about 5G. Let us know below as we begin this exciting journey together. Never Settle To see this course in French, follow this link.