Will you pay a premium for 5G?


The wireless carriers are excited about 5G. Some of them, like AT&T, might be too excited that it clouds their better (and marketing) judgment. But there is no doubt that the next major upgrade for wireless networks is a welcomed one, and the carriers are already starting to work out ways they can get more money from subscribers.

Right now, Verizon Wireless is already charging $10 more per month for 5G access, and that’s only available on the 5G Moto Mod accessory. One can only imagine how that might balloon once 5G becomes more prevalent across the United States, more devices support it, and more customers start using it.

Just listen to AT&T’s CEO on the matter and you start to get a feel how might things shake out.

Today during the Big Blue wireless carrier’s earnings report, the chief executive, Randall Stephenson, said that in a few years we could see tiered data plans for 5G. Something similar to how broadband plans are offered at home. Want faster speeds? You’ll need to fork over more money to get that. Stephenson seeds the fastest of fast 5G speeds as a premium that people will pay for.

Of course, tiered plans aren’t completely gone. Verizon offers an almost ridiculous number of plans right now, from set plans with only so much high-speed data available on a monthly basis. Or different unlimited plans with different perks tied to them, like AT&T.

So the tiered part of future 5G mobile plans isn’t the (potentially) unsettling part. It’s the more money part. Plans are already not cheap, and if we’re going to be paying more for 5G, that’s a little frustrating. But the networks have been spending a lot of money on these 5G upgrades, costs that have surely racked up and will continue to pile on in the future, so it’s probably something we should expect.

Maybe it won’t be too bad. If Verizon just sticks to what it has now, and this is adopted by the other networks, $10 more per month might be tolerable for most customers. I have no doubts that people will fork over the cash on a monthly basis to have the fastest possible network access, even if web sites already load fast enough on our mobile devices.

This isn’t a problem we need to worry about right now, because it will be a few years before 5G is so widespread that the mainline plans will adopt them and costs reflect that. But maybe it’s also enough time that the people who make these decisions don’t go too crazy with it. Are you expecting prices to go much higher once 5G is widely available? Or do you expect price changes to be pretty minimal? Let me know!

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