2020: The Year in Cellular

Our yearly recap this year has one simple rule: We all know the big stories that defined 2020. This isn’t that kind of blog. So there will be no mention of them here. Let’s talk about the other stories for a little while.

You can tell the story of cellular in 2020 with one letter and one number. I’m talking of course about 5G. 5G finally broke out in 2020, with the release of several phones that use the new technology.

5G brings speed and power

5g

It’s true that the demand for 5G wasn’t as strong as it could have been in any other year. Still, for those who did travel this year, using 5G networking brought a welcome respite from slow Wi-Fi. 5G is, on average, faster than most wire-based internet and it’s now blanketing the country thanks to AT&T and other carriers.

12 is a magic number

After several years of retreads — the iPhone X seems like forever ago — Apple finally delivered the next generation of drool-worthy phone to the public in the form of the iPhone 12 family. Whether you were enticed by the one-hand-able iPhone 12 Mini or the raw power of the iPhone 12 Pro Max, there was a phone for every Apple lover in this lineup. Best of all thanks to new colors and a sharp new edge to the design, your brand-new phone finally doesn’t look like one from 2017.

Good news for cell booster makers

Because AT&T and other carriers have put a lot of their 5G “oomph” into existing frequencies, there’s a better-than-average chance that your existing cell booster will actually amplify 5G. No, they won’t be able to reach the new 600MHz frequencies or the millimeter-wave ones, but for AT&T users, there’s a lot of 5G in the 850MHz band which is supported by today’s boosters.

That’s good news indeed because it seems like the FCC has had their eyes elsewhere this year. They haven’t approved a single new booster from any of the major manufacturers. That may change in the coming year as outgoing chair Ajit Pai will be replaced on January 20 or thereabouts. Perhaps a new commissioner will be more focused on cellular and less focused on making deals with big TV operators (or so some have said.)

GotW3 helped tens of thousands this year

The big product of the year for Solid Signal was of course gotW3, the easy-to-use cellular router system that makes work-from-home easy. During the first-big work-from-home push, we sold tens of thousands of kits to people who needed extra internet capacity quickly. It’s been a hands-down winner.

Where will we go next?

I expect even better phones, even faster speeds, and the best in accessories in the coming year. You’ll find it all at your favorite site of course… shop at Solid Signal for everything you’ll need.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.