Starting in 2019, your smartphone’s internet speed will get way faster

Steve Mollenkopf
Steve Mollenkopf Qualcomm

ASPEN, Colorado — There’s no question that superfast, fifth-generation mobile networks are coming. But when will consumers get to connect to these 5G systems?

How about in as little as two years?

“You’ll see 5G in 2019 for sure,” Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf told attendees of the Fortune Brainstorm conference in Aspen, Colorado on Monday.

5G networks are expected to send gobs of data faster than your at-home WiFi network and faster than your old-fashioned, wired plug-in network at work. They might even be as fast as the fastest networks you can get today, which run at gigabit speeds.

Although everyone wants faster networks, it’s not been clear when 5G would arrive. Even a year ago, Mollenkopf himself would have predicted that 5G wouldn’t be readily available until 2020, but “people are pulling us faster” toward 5G than that, he said.

There are also whole new industries that are pushing for it, like connected cars, and health care.

But the big driver? Videos. People want to watch more videos on their gorgeous-screen smartphones, and that requires lots of bandwidth.