5G will make our phones faster—and Google, Amazon, and Microsoft even stronger

In recent years, much of the discussion at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress—okay, nearly all of it—has focused around the advent of 5G cellular technology, and the technological marvels that these ultra-fast networks will enable. This year, unlike in previous expos, those promises started to feel more real, as chipmakers, networking equipment manufacturers, and smartphone companies showed off 5G-capable devices, while mobile operators unveiled timelines of 5G service rollouts. It’s a long-discussed future that will soon be upon us.

Just about every company with a booth at MWC was armed with a litany of talking points about what 5G networks could enable. There were demonstrations of remote surgeries directed in real-time by a doctor miles from the hospital; a truck in Gothenburg that you could steer from Barcelona in real-time; and jam sessions between far-flung musicians made possible by—you guessed it—a real-time mobile link.

And so, delegates got a glimpse of a future where everyday objects—from phones to cars, appliances, and just about anything else that can house a sensor–are always connected to speedy internet. There has been a push for years to connect more things to the internet, but when people and objects are connected at speeds that remove all the delays caused by distance, it’s an experience unlike anything else on the modern web.

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