For a long time, I’d pretty much ignored 5G technology.
Which, for me, was a bit strange.
After all, it’s one of the biggest talking points in tech right now. And if you believe the headlines, it’s going to revolutionise, well, pretty much everything.
Surely, I, as an exponential trend-hunter, should be all over this?
But to be honest, at first, I found the research about 5G either boring, paranoid or too hyped-up to take seriously.
‘5G cures cancer’
‘5G causes cancer’
‘5G will microwave your brain, oh and it will kill bees too…’
It was hard to make sense of any of it.
But the fact is, 5G is coming. In some places, it’s already here.
Which is why I’ve spent the past few months pushing past the pain barrier to try and understand what it all means.
I think you should, too.
Because then, you’ll find out like I have, how important 5G is actually going to be.
Today, I’ll go over the basics.
Then, if you want to know more, you can read my in-depth report, which will lay out the investment opportunity at hand.
I’ll show you how to access that at the end of today’s article.
But first, let’s start with…
Is 5G just a load of hype? What does it really mean?
The opportunities of 5G are tremendously exciting.
Driverless cars, artificial intelligence, automated robotics…
But the ‘5G talk’ tends to go a little far.
I mean, you probably roll your eyes at some of the technologies I named above.
And until recently, the mainstream stoked the flames. There wasn’t anything 5G couldn’t do.
But the hype has cooled of late, thankfully. I think this gives rational investors a chance to buy 5G related stocks, while not paying far too much for them.
But what is 5G, really?
It’s simply the next generation of connectivity that operates at a higher frequency than 4G.
The easiest way to understand it is by comparison.
4G, the stuff everyone has on their smartphone, operates on the sub-6 giga hertz (GHz) millimetre wave (mmWave) length.
The frequency will usually be anywhere between 700–1800 megahertz (MHz).
5G, on the other hand, operates at a far higher frequency. It’s up around the 24–100 GHz range.
The large range is probably because we don’t have 5G yet. When it comes to 5G, these are all just best guesses, mind you.
Already, this might sound confusing…mmWave, MHz and GHz.
Just think of it as all part of the radio frequency spectrum. 4G is lower on the spectrum and 5G is higher.
Moving up that spectrum, going from 4G to 5G, actually makes the radio wave lengths shorter and faster…
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One draw back from moving up the spectrum is that it shortens a signal. For example, 4G can travel much further than the potential 5G.
A huge benefit of moving up the spectrum, though, is that we can pack in more information, more data inside the signal and get it to its destination faster.
And that’s really what 5G is all about. More data traveling much faster across shorter distances than today.
Are the concerns about 5G and health valid?
There are a couple of strong opinions on this subject.
There are also dozens of research reports on mobile technology, which suggest that electromagnetic frequencies, the stuff emitted by your mobile and Wi-Fi, causes harm to humans.
Maybe you will remember years back when mobiles started to get popular. At the time, people were scared to hold their phones up to their ear, fearing it could give you brain cancer or something of the sort.
There’s also those who try to draw the connection between potentially harmful 5G and the higher frequency it operates at.
Stuff like X-rays and gamma ray also operate at higher frequencies. And with enough exposure, both can be extremely damaging to human biology.
The key difference, though, is non-ionizing and ionizing radiation.
Ionizing radiation, which is what gamma ray and X-rays emit, can knock electrons out of their base molecule. And this can cause mutations in human biology, leading to cancers and tumours.
Non-ionizing radiation, which is what our mobile networks emit, do not knock electrons out of place. Only at very high frequencies can non-ionizing radiation vibrate, or excite molecules and atoms.
This is actually how your microwave heats up foods, by vibrating water and fat molecules very fast.
But hey, if 5G does give us all cancer, maybe it could also save us, too. Medical research is a data intensive process, after all.
And it’s the world of data that 5G is set to transform…
What’s the one thing about 5G that no one has realised yet?
I’m sure someone has realised this, but I find it fascinating. And that’s how 5G will change, not the big stuff, the small mundane stuff of everyday life.
A good analogy might be our expectations on the web. We’ve all come to expect a majority of websites, videos and content on online to be free.
I actually asked my wife the other day, ‘Imagine that you have to pay for an email account?’
Such a thought sounds crazy now.
Because email has always been free to the individual. They make money through advertising usually.
But there was no reason it should have been this way. After all, email was a vast improvement on letters (which were slower and cost money to send), so you’d have expected a small fee for such a convenience.
With 5G, we might see the emergence of similar concepts. A world of free, instant content with new types of revenue models emerging.
5G might create a generation of content gluttons.
Have new investors missed the boat on 5G?
I don’t think so. One of the reasons I say that is because we don’t even have 5G yet.
Even the 5G-enabled phones telcos sell today are more of a 4G enhanced version. They still operate below that 6 GHz range.
But for argument’s sake, say 5G was here and everywhere. Even then, there’d likely still be opportunities around for investors willing to do their due diligence.
I’d think about it much like the internet or the World Wide Web.
In the early 1990s, Tim Berners-Lee helped create the Web. Yet 30 years on and there are still plenty of opportunities in spin-off sectors like ecommerce and digital advertising.
What strategies can you use to find 5G opportunities?
Investing in any kind of new technology can be a harrowing experience.
The reason why is simply because there’s no dominant, established company which you can point to and say, ‘that one will surely be around for the next five years’.
But this is how readers need to approach 5G opportunities.
You’ve got to look for sticky businesses, companies with something that’s hard for competitors to recreate.
An example might be a patent, which is a licence to do something, preventing others from doing it, too. Or it might be a crucial physical network, which is costly to reproduce.
Both keep competitors one step behind and improve profit margins for an incumbent, which likely leads to a far higher market value.
Editor, Money Morning
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