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How Much Will 5G Data Really Cost You?

How Much Will 5G Data Really Cost You?

Data Charges

I was going through my Cell Phone bill the other day to see what my carrier was charging me for data. When I hit my data limit of 4 Gigabytes per month on my monthly GCI Cell Phone Plan it costs $15.00 for every 1 GB over 4GB like I did last month. Quite often we have thought of the question of “How Much Will 5G Data Usage Really Cost You? “

With 5G access and speed, 20 GB over could happen very easily. On my regular 4G limit Cell Phone plan (3G really) if I went over by accident in one day it would cost $300.00. Ouch!! I go over by accident now with 3G where I live in a remote small town, forget about  5G.

Data Usage

The real question is the 5G Data GB (Gigabytes) Density Download Costs? If you start downloading 100 times the data in seconds on 5G from what you are doing now on 3G or 4G what will it cost?  Can you have anything but an Unlimited Plan in the future?

Warning there is math in this article!!

Why Do We Think This?

First of all, let’s look at a basic 5G Plan from Verizon Wireless on their website. The base minimum cost they advertise is $200.00 per month for the BeyondUnlimited 5G Unlimited Family Plan for 4 users at $50.00 per month each plus taxes and fees and you have to be enrolled in Autopay.

The Verizon 5g AboveUnlimited cost they advertise is $240.00 per month for 4 users at $60.00 per month each plus taxes and fees and you have to be enrolled in Autopay. Depending on your state that probably runs about $210.00 to $225.00 per month.

In speaking with a Verizon Representative on the phone directly she told me you can get a 5G unlimited plan for a single user per month for $90.00 plus insurance of $15.00, plus taxes and fees. So basically $105.00 dollars + per month for a single person.

Verizon 5G AboveUnlimited Plan

Verizon 5G Coverage

As it states below you will have to be in their 5G Coverage area for unlimited coverage (Which is almost impossible to identify these boundaries by the average human). If it goes to 4G LTE but you are still in their 5G coverage area you won’t be charged any more or against your 4G LTE plan of 22 GB per month.

This is Where it Starts Getting Tricky

Verizon BeyondUnlimited Coverage Premium Unlimited 4G LTE Data (22 GB) Stipulation

“After 22 GB/line. In times of congestion, your data may be temporarily slower than other traffic.”

Translation: Unless you live and work under a 5G Transmitter in the next 5 years you will still be using 4G LTE or less most of the time.

Average Data Use Forecast

The average data use in North America is forecasted to go to 56 Gigabits per Month per User by 2024.

Monthly Data Use Forecast 2018-2024 Graph 500 Data Use Forecast 2018-2024

As an Additional Example Look At the Fine Print from The Verizon Plans Page

Verizon BeyondUnlimited 4G LTE Data (22 GB) Stipulation

“In times of congestion, your data may be temporarily slower than other traffic. DVD-quality streaming (up to 480p) on smartphones. $30, $35, and $45 plans: Once high-speed data is used (including Mobile Hotspot), you will have 2G speeds the remainder of the month. Your data experience and functionality of some data applications such as streaming video or audio may be impacted unless you purchase additional data. Additional taxes and fees may apply.”

The way that Cellular Phone Network Carriers throttle data and charge you for it to make money is the actual invisible commodity as valuable as corn or gold. We didn’t pay for “Data” or these things 20 years ago and know it is common as buying your family’s food.

Warning there is more math and statistics in this article!!

More Data Usage

In a recent article in the Verge by Tom Warren A Week With The Uk’s First 5g Network: Speed, Coverage, and More he says: “My big concern around 5G is data usage. During my first day of testing, I used up 20GB of data just on speed tests alone. That’s an incredible amount of mobile data, and I would have chewed through EE’s basic 10GB data plan at £59 ($74) a month with this phone within just a few hours.

A 10GB data plan isn’t going to cut it for 5G, and you’d need at least 100GB of data a month to get the benefits of this new network. EE’s maximum plan is 120GB of 5G data at £79 ($100) per month with the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, which is an expensive option right now.”

What Can 5G Do?

So what are we talking about? What can 5G do in comparison to 4G LTE?

5G Speed

4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) is currently the fastest cellular network available supporting peak data rates of up to 300 Megabits per second.

Currently, 5G speed is approximately 3 Gigabits per second. Under ideal conditions in the future, 5G should reach up to 10 Gigabits per second. There goes my cheapskate 4G plan in 1 second!!

A 5G Smartphone could download the content of an entire DVD in just 4 seconds approximately in an ideal situation.

Connection Congestion Density

As shown above by Verizon “In times of congestion, your data may be temporarily slower than other traffic” and this is because of the already overcrowded cellular networks with all forms of devices from Cell Phones and tablets to your Tesla self-driving car and your refrigerator on the IoT (Internet of Things).

5G will help alleviate that by allowing many more people and devices on the cellular network without the congestion.

IoT Internet of Things

5G technology is the foundation for the IoT (Internet of Things) efficiency. From your interconnected Smart Home with Smart speakers like Amazon’s Alexa Echo Dot and Echo Plus, smart locks, smart displays, fridges, thermostats, Fitbit Tracker and connected scale and even your pet’s food dishes. In the Internet of Things, all of these machines will be talking to each other and taking humans out of the middle man role.

Machine Learning

Self Driving Car

You will have so many more machines communicating with each other that the density of communication will increase with the future deployment of the IoT. This will also facilitate the increasingly massive amount of data that is needed for AI (Artificial Intelligence) Machine Learning.

With more data, the 5G IoT connected computers will increasingly learn faster from the massive amount of data being input and accelerate their learning curve.

New 5G Operations

Although Cabling is necessary to the infrastructure of 5G, Fixed Wireless Access eliminates the need for deep-fiber fixed access cabling and offers peak rates that few fixed technologies can match. Nokia FastMile 5G Fixed Wireless Access Gateway offers up to 1Gb/s per second access with 4G or 5G networks while creating a better and faster Wi-Fi.

Standardization for 5G NR mm-Wave (New Radio) which will enable the mobility requirements of smartphones.

5G will introduce new device types, like Category M1 and Narrow Band (NB-IoT) Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) radio wave technology. This will enable lower-power battery-driven devices and a wide range of cellular devices and services.

Eliminating Latency

5G Low Latency is at the forefront of reducing the delay in getting information to you offering real-world lag times of 2-millisecond pings and eventually 1 millisecond.

Latency is transmission time for data. Latency is the time between when data is sent and when it is received.

5G Low Latency is expected to provide a 10X decrease in end-to-end latency. Low Latency is critical in autonomous vehicles, factory machinery, traffic lights, gaming, and virtual reality just to name a few.

You Think Your Cell Phone Bill is Confusing Now?

Wait until you are trying to figure out all of the Cell Phone Carrier charging opportunities below.

5G Transmitter Antenna Deployment

Deploying a whole new 5G infrastructure and technology is going to be expensive and we are going to pay for it one way or another. Cost estimates run into the hundreds of billions of dollars for the full transition.

Massive MIMO Phased Array Antenna.

Completely revised designs starting with smartphones, antennas, modems, and everything necessary to facilitate the reception of the RF Signal.

You will have Small Cell Transmitters required for mmWave frequencies on every street corner street lights and you name it to Macro Cell Transmitter towers coupled and combined with existing Cell Towers. The Macro Cell Towers will use MIMO (multiple inputs, multiple outputs) antennas.

Fixed wireless antennas can be placed on top of homes and buildings to communicate with nearby small cells or macro cell towers. Putting a mmWave antenna on every street corner in the world may cost way more than the hundreds of billions projected.

Netflix Data

According to Netflix a typical standard-definition streaming video that you watch on your phone uses up to 1 GB of data per hour. An hour of 1080p HD video uses up 3 GB, 3-D video uses up 4.7 GB, and 4K video uses 7 GB of data. Can you imagine in a single hour these amounts are triple the average monthly data plan gone?

From the Netflix Website:

“Watching TV shows or movies on Netflix uses about 1 GB of data per hour for each stream of standard definition video, and up to 3 GB per hour for each stream of HD video. Downloading and streaming consume a similar amount of data. If you are concerned with data caps or bandwidth limits, you can adjust your data usage settings by following the steps below.”

Mobile Data Refresher

Mobile data is Internet content delivered to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets over a wireless cellular connection. Mobile data allows your phone to access the Internet even when you’re not on Wi-Fi. Mobile data gives you an Internet connection anywhere as long as you’re connected to a cellular network.

Mobile data usage is measured in megabytes (MB) and gigabytes (GB). There are 1,024 MB in 1 GB of data. Everything you send to (upload) or receive from or (download) on the Internet will require some amount of data.

Netflix Mobile Data Usage Options

“Netflix offers four mobile data usage settings to choose from”:

  • Automatic – Netflix will select a data usage setting that balances data usage with good video quality. Currently, this will allow you to watch about 4 hours per GB of data.
  • Wi-Fi Only – You will only be able to stream on the device while connected to Wifi.
  • Save Data – Watch about 6 hours per GB of data.
  • Maximum Data – Recommended only if you have an unlimited data plan. This setting will stream at the highest possible quality for your device and the content you are viewing. This may use 1 GB per 20 minutes or more depending on your device and network speeds.
  • NOTE: If you have also set your Netflix data usage, streaming on mobile devices will not exceed this setting.”

Netflix Data Usage and Your Cell Phone Plan

If you are watching movies and TV series on Netflix your data usage can accumulate very fast. If you have a really small data plan like me at 4GB a month watching a movie in Standard Definition will use up your Data in 4 Hours on today’s 3G/4G networks.

Netflix Data Usage

Video Quality Data Used

  • Low                                0.3GB/hour
  • Medium                          1GB/hour
  • High 1080p HD               3GB/hour
  • Higher 3-D Video            4.7 GB/hour
  • Highest 4K Video            7 GB/hour

Carrier Data Speed Reduction

If you have an Unlimited Data Plan or any Data Plan for that matter they have a data speed reduction in preference of other customers during network congestion as described above in the Verizon fine print. Once you’ve met the limits of your plan you are subject to slower speeds during times of heavy network congestion. What happens when everyone is on 5G at 50 to 100 times the data consumption rate?

We did an article called “Smartphone AI: How Intelligent is your Smartphone?” that shows the Data Rates.

Data Requirement Approximate Values of 4G LTE Internet

These are just estimates, and data transfer amounts will vary.  

  • Audible Audiobook for 14 Hour Book              200-400 MB 
  • Email                                                                50KB per message
  • Email (Text Only)                                             10 KB
  • Uploading pictures                                           1.5MB per photo
  • Digital Photo Download/Upload (Hi-Res)         5 MB
  • Facebook                                                          1-2MB per minute
  • Web surfing                                                       2.5MB per minute
  • Web Page Lookup                                             1MB-3MB
  • Gaming depending on format                            1.5MB per minute 
  • Audio Streaming High-Quality Audio                  51 MB/hr
  • Music streaming                                                 1-2MB per minute
  • Average Song                                                     5MB
  • Podcast streaming                                              60-100MB per hour, 
  • Video Streaming                                                 350MB per hour
  • Video Streaming (Standard Def)                         500MB/hr
  • Video Streaming (High Def)                                1.6GB/hr
  • YouTube                                                              2.5-6MB per minute
  • Netflix                                                                  1GB-3GB per hour

Buffering Gets Charged To You Anyway

Downloads that buffer, such as streaming music and video, are billed by carriers for all of the data that has been downloaded, even though you may not have listened to or watched the entire download.

Unlimited Monthly Data Disguised

Many of the major carriers offer Unlimited Monthly Data but not really. Verizon and AT&T offer full-speed data for the first 22GB that you use. After that, they will slow down your connection until the next billing cycle.

Have you ever been frustrated because your Internet connection on your Smartphone slows down so much at the end of the month consistently until your carrier bill cycles? Well, that is because you are over your monthly data usage and your carrier will notify you and is responsible for your slow Internet.

More 5G Statistics

By late 2021 and into the decade wireless companies are expected to start providing 5G technology which promises speeds of 20, 40, even up to 100 times faster than 4G.

With speeds that fast, you’ll be able to do incredible daily life-changing things on your smartphone as the past advances have already done for us.

Nokia says 5G will let people stream “8K” video in 3-D. That’s an incredibly detailed picture, which is twice as clear as 4K video and 16 times clearer than full HD video.

A person with a 5G smartphone could download a 3-D movie in about 6 seconds. On 4G, it would take 6 minutes so maybe you should be prepared for a truly shocking wireless bill.

Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast

According to Cisco as wireless speeds are increasing over the past 10 years customers data usage has steadily increased to extremely high levels. 4G smartphones currently generate nearly 10 times more traffic than non-4G phones,

Cisco’s Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2017–2022 White Paper says: “By 2022, there will be 8.4 billion handheld or personal mobile-ready devices and 3.9 billion M2M connections (e.g., GPS systems in cars, asset tracking systems in shipping and manufacturing sectors, or medical applications making patient records and health status more readily available, et al.). Regionally, North America and Western Europe are going to have the fastest growth in mobile devices and connections with 16 percent and 12 percent CAGR from 2017 to 2022, respectively.”

Cisco Exabytes Monthly Forecast 2017-2022

How big is an (EB) Exabyte?

An Exabyte (EB) is a unit of digital information storage used to denote the size of data. It is equivalent to 1 billion gigabytes (GB), 1,000 petabytes (PB) or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes (B).

Kilobyte, Megabyte, Gigabyte, Terabyte, Petabyte, Exabyte, Zettabyte, and Yottabyte

Increased Cell Phone Bill Cost

Average cell phone bills are 23% cheaper than a decade ago, but consumers are paying more for Cell Phone Taxes.

What are the Top 4 Wireless Telecommunications Companies Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint providing in 5G?

The top 4 cellular communications companies are all not truly providing 5G networks. They are in transition but for instance, AT&T doesn’t have a Cell Phone that can use its 5G network. All of these companies, in select markets, will continue to build and evolve with potential plans to offer 5G nationwide coverage in the early 2020 decade timeframe.

Verizon 5G

Verizon prepaid subscribers with unlimited plans Go Unlimited and Beyond Unlimited can get unlimited 5G starting at $200.00 Per Month plus taxes and fees.

They offer 5g Smartphones that work with their network in Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, LG V50 ThinQ, and Motorola moto z3 & z4 (Upgradable to 5G with a 5G moto mod).        

Verizon’s also has fixed wireless residential broadband service 5G Home for $50 per month for current Verizon Wireless customers after a free trial, with a Verizon Wireless plan of $30 or more required or $70 per month for non-Verizon Wireless customers with no additional hardware costs, and the monthly rate includes all taxes and fees.

Sprint 5G

Sprint has 4 cities with 5G, Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Kansas City and 4 more on deck. They offer 5G Samsung Galaxy S10 and an LG V50 ThinQ that will work on their network and an HTC Hub 5G Hotspots. So they are behind Verizon and way ahead of everyone else.

They say about their network: “Sprint’s True Mobile 5G is powering new experiences for our wireless customers – offering true mobility in covered areas, robust connections, and incredible reliability.

With blazing-fast download speeds, you’ll feel like you’re connected to broadband with download speeds faster than 4G LTE. Gaming and streaming entertainment will be forever changed with seamless connectivity, ultra-realistic graphics and human-like reflex response time. Plus, our Unlimited Premium plan is filled with entertainment and gaming perks that will bring the 5G experience to life.”


AT&T doesn’t have a Cell Phone that can use its 5G network that they are building and we don’t see that the 5G Hotspot is on their website either as everyone is saying. AT&T 5G Evolution network is their preliminary step into 5G which is enabling faster speeds on their existing LTE network and is up to 2x faster than standard LTE. It is 2x faster based on AT&T’s standard 4G LTE v. 5G Evolution average download speeds and is only available in select areas with 5G capable devices.

AT&T is said to offer a mobile 5G hot spot device, the Nighthawk hot spot costs $499 upfront with a 5G data plan that includes 15 GB of data for $70 per month. As of now, it does not show 5g Specifications on their website only 4G.

T-Mobile 5G

T-Mobile offers very limited 5G in a few cities and it doesn’t work in buildings. The 5G plan is available in pockets of select cities with their regular rate plan at no additional cost.

Their future projection after combining their company with Sprint says: “By 2024, the New T‑Mobile network will have approximately double the total capacity and triple the total 5G capacity of T‑Mobile and Sprint combined, with 5G speeds four to six times what they could achieve on their own.

With Sprint’s expansive 2.5 GHz spectrum, T‑Mobile’s nationwide 600 MHz spectrum, and other combined assets, the New T‑Mobile plans to create the highest capacity network in U.S. history.”

5G Smartphones Available  5G Networks Available

  • Samsung Galaxy S10 5G                       Verizon & Sprint
  • LG V50 ThinQ                                         Verizon & Sprint
  • Motorola moto z3 & z4                            Verizon 
  • (Upgradable to 5G/5G moto mod)              
  • OnePlus 7 Pro 5G
  • Oppo Reno 5G
  • 5G Xiaomi Mi Mix 3

5G Smartphones Coming Soon

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10
  • Honor’s 5G
  • 5G Sony Xperia
  • Huawei Mate X and Mate 20 X 5G
  • ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G
  • Xiaomi Black Shark
  • Royole FlexPai
  • Samsung Galaxy A90
  • Samsung Galaxy Fold
  • Alcatel 7 5G
  • Energizer’s Power Max P8100S
  • iPhone

5G Hotspots Available

  • HTC Hub
  • Netgear Nighthawk

Where is 5G Now?

5G is still in its very early infancy stage and Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile are your only network options in the United States at this time. Besides Advertising Hype and a plan to move forward, it is a ways off in so many respects to everyone. But this is most certainly the very exciting future of Smartphone and Wireless communications and heading for 6G!!!


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We are a website that writes helpful articles about the latest technology for emergency preparedness and power grid energy. We try new devices and analyze their quality, durability, effects, for emergency preparedness.

This site is owned and operated by Fremontii, LLC. Fremontii, LLC. is a participant in Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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We are a website that writes helpful articles about the latest technology for emergency preparedness and power grid energy. We try new devices and analyze their quality, durability, effects, for emergency preparedness.

This site is owned and operated by Fremontii, LLC. Fremontii, LLC. is a participant in Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to