What is the difference between 4G and 5G?

By 2021 there will be up to 438 million 5G connections, with up to 1.5 billion users predicted to have access to a 5G network by 2024. But what is 5G? And what is the difference between 4G and 5G?

What is the difference between 4G and 5G?

4G was introduced in 2010 and at the time presented a real step forward in mobile networking, enabling high-quality video streaming and calling on the go.  

However, as we download and stream ever-higher quantities of data, 4G has begun to reach its technical limits. In response, 5G is currently being rolled out across the UK, as well as other countries around the globe – bringing new opportunities for businesses, people and society.   

By 2021 there will be up to 438 million 5G connections, with up to 1.5 billion users predicted to have access to a 5G network by 2024.  

But what is 5G? And what is the difference between 4G and 5G? 

What is 5G technology?

5G is the next generation of wireless mobile network, designed to meet society’s growing data and connectivity requirements.  

The ‘G’ in both 4G and 5G stands for ‘generation’, meaning 5G is the fifth and most recent generation of mobile networks.

What is the difference between 4G and 5G?

There are a number of key differences between 4G and 5G: 


The biggest difference between 4G and 5G is speed. 5G is said to be 100 times faster than its predecessor, delivering the best ever mobile speed. 

4G has a maximum download speed of 300 Mbps, while 5G is expected to deliver download speeds of up to 10 Gbps. At this speed, it will be possible to download a two-hour film in under 10 seconds, compared to the two to three minutes it currently takes on 4G. 


5G offers higher capacity than 4G, meaning that more people can be connected to a network at once.  

5G will use higher frequencies of between 30 and 300GHz to transmit radio waves, while 4G uses frequencies below 6GHz. Using these higher frequencies means that 5G will have access to larger bandwidths, resulting in a higher capacity for data.  

Because 5G’s higher frequencies can be used alongside other wireless signals without the risk of interference, they continue to perform well in crowded areas. 4G can support approximately 4,000 devices per square kilometre, whereas 5G will be able to support around one million devices per square kilometre. 



5G will also offer improved latency – meaning the network will respond to requests quicker than 4G. 4G currently has a latency of 50 milliseconds, while 5G has a latency of just one millisecond. That’s 50 times faster.  

As a result, devices operating on 5G will be incredibly fast, require minimal buffering, and will respond to commands instantly.  

When will 5G be available in the UK?

Whereas 4G is already available right across the UK, 5G is still currently in the process of being rolled out across the country. The UK’s 5G networks are launching in a staggered manner, and 112 towns and cities now have coverage. The widespread availability of 5G is expected by 2025.  

However, it’s important to note that not all devices support 5G.  

To find out more about how 5G can impact your business, or to ensure that your devices and systems are compatible with 5G, please get in touch.  

Here at CHG-MERIDIAN, we ensure our clients are always one step ahead, with equipment harmonisation and tailored plans that work for them. 

Contact us now!

We'd love to hear from you! Feel free to reach out with any questions or queries you may have.

Danny Persaud

Head of Sales - UK & Ireland Corporate

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