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Who needs 5G? Samsung Galaxy S9 hits stunning 1Gbps speeds in ‘4.9G’ tests

Mobile networks are preparing for the exciting advent of 5G mobile data connectivity, but there’s still life in the old 4G LTE dog just yet.

Mobile network Telefonia, Samsung and Nokia have jointly announced they’ve managed to achieve speeds of 1Gbps (1Gigabit) on the existing LTE infrastructure using Galaxy S9/S9+ smartphones.

They’re calling it 4.9G (or LTE Advanced Pro) because it’s as close to the 5G speeds as we can expect before the next-generation speeds begin rolling out a year or two from now.

The alliance was able to achieve the record speeds by aggregating three existing bands of license radio spectrum, Venture Beat reports. The Samsung devices in question already included the LTE Advanced Pro tech necessary to reach such lofty speeds.

Related: What is 5G?

The successful Spanish tests, which took place in Segovia, used existing Nokia AirScale base stations to achieve the speeds, which are being compared to those available on the fastest fibre optic broadband connections.

So with these 4.9G speeds already achievable, why are we bothering with 5G at all? Well 5G is expected to reach up to 5Gbps eventually, while the new 5G infrastructure will also achieve much lower latency than is possible within the 4.9G tests.

Telefonica says the real world tests, which were conducted on the commercial network, rather than in a controlled laboratory environment, are an important step on the road to 5G.

Javier Gutiérrez of Telefonica wrote (translated): “The deployment of 4.9, which extends the capabilities of the current 4G network, is a necessary step to prepare the deployment of 5G . Carrying it out in the commercial network of Segovia will allow us to evaluate the behavior of both the network and the traffic generated by the users as well as to test new cases of use linked with high speed.”

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