The 5th generation of mobile broadband connection is fast. Like, really fast. Ten times faster than some of the best 4G connections today, and making 5G available to us all is causing a lot of controversy.

First, you’ve got Huawei, the state-owned Chinese telecom company with some of the best and cheapest 5G equipment available on the market. Americans are concerned that China is using Huawei to take control of internet connections, therefore giving the government the ability to use all of that data to its advantage. That’s slowing everything down, because tense trade negotiations mean that companies are less likely to be making big investments in equipment that may become illegal at any minute. It’s also meant that cooperation across international lines has become less fluid, with the various nations aware that they may need to take their ball and go home.

Next, you’ve got the actual battle for technology. So far, it’s not looking good for the States – there are only 2 cities in America with 5G right now (Chicago and Minneapolis) and, even then, access is pretty limited. Compare that to 225 places with 5G in Switzerland, Korea who’s had 5G since 2018, and many Middle Eastern countries that are rolling it out as we speak, and you start to see that the US has a long way to go to catch up.

Most importantly, when the lightning-fast connections become available they will definitely change the way that they we use our phones, and it’s just as certain that there’s no way to know how that will be. The jump from 3G to 4G made Facetime possible. It also allowed us to start building Augmented Reality apps like Snapchat and Pokemon Go. It brought 4K video to our phones, and even created the conditions for Uber to become as popular as it has.

There are as many predictions about 5G as there are blogs out there, so I’ll stick to what we know:

As with every major leap forward, the companies that benefit are going to be the ones that start with curiosity. They’re going to ask their customers how their lives are changing, and they’re going to work with the technology to enhance what already makes them great companies.

3G’s mobile social media made brands that had invested in their communities more powerful by enabling them to be even more connected.

4G’s live chat made strong customer service brands stronger, and it allowed brands with great stories to tell them in a richer way through high-resolution video.

5G is going to be about the combination of physical and digital worlds. When large volumes of data can flow seamlessly from our mobile devices, then the greatest advancements are going to be in the ways that our devices enhance our interactions with the world around us, as long as the politicians can stop arguing long enough to let it happen.