In short: The currently projected speeds set to be delivered by incoming 5G networks could ultimately save some users as much as twelve days per year in download wait time, according to a recent analysis of the technology from HighSpeedInternet.com. The company breaks that down into four separate categories primarily centered around media consumption, including social media, gaming, movies, and music, with game downloads representing the most time savings. Based on estimates that 5G's speeds will be measured in gigabits per second (Gbps) and at least partially on Verizon's expected 3.77Gbps, the company says that game downloads could be cut by as much as seven hours per download on average. Similarly, using a Spotify library of up to 10,000 songs as an example, the average user could save as much as 3 hours per download. Meanwhile, as much as seven minutes could also be saved per movie download and as much as two-and-a-half minutes per day could be saved when users are loading up social media pages.
Background: All of that is assuming that overall speed of the next-generation mobile and ISP networking platform perform as currently advertised after 5G spreads to a much wider scale. Although there will almost certainly be areas and regions where performance is at or near peak expectations, there is also a very good chance that final figures won't stack up to expectations. Put simply, the technology has quite a few limitations that need to be overcome and there's no way to know how it will perform once it's in place and under load from any given number of connected accounts and users. Moreover, 5G signals penetrate obstructions such as trees, buildings, and other materials with far less ease than other networking technologies. The usable range is also much lower, resulting in a completely different approach from providers compared to the standard cell tower infrastructure used in the past.
Impact: Bearing that in mind, the switch to 5G could still be profound if the implications of the above-mentioned caveats are solved or if workarounds are discovered to help deliver the maximum performance most of the time. The new report only takes into account downloads that are typically much larger in size. As highlighted by the social media example, smaller downloads can and will add up as well. That example, in particular, adds up to around four days of time saved over the course of a user's life, according to the estimates. So there are likely to be quite a few other areas where users can save time thanks to the added speed and those will probably vary a lot depending on the user.