What you need to know about 5G arriving in the DMV

If you haven't already heard about 5G, you're about to. It's the new generation of cellular wireless technology, and it could mean your smartphone will be faster and more reliable.

Here's a scenario: You walk out of a game at Capital One Arena in Chinatown. The place is packed. You try to make a phone call, but sometimes you've got service and sometimes you don't.

5G could change that, although -- as FOX 5's Josh Rosenthal found out Thursday-- a lot of people are somewhat unsure of what exactly it is.

Sprint just announced that they are going to start selling new 5G-compatible phones.

Politico tech reporter Steven Overly says 5G stands for "5th generation," and basically, it's a more powerful and more reliable network that, eventually, all of our phones and tablets will connect to.

It's still in the very early stages, and most places in the U.S. -- including D.C. -- don't currently have 5G service. The District has what we called 4G and to get an understanding of what 5G could eventually do, Overly explained what 4G has already done.

"4G technology, which is what many of us have now, has helped bring about technologies like Uber and Lyft and a lot of the ways in which we're using our smartphones today. So you kind of have to wonder, okay well what happens when these phones get even more powerful when this technology gets even better, and a lot of those questions just aren't even answered yet," said Overly.

One thing 5G could lead to, according to Overly: self-driving vehicles, which of course, would require a very powerful network.

So should we all run out and buy these new 5G phones now? Overly says there is no immediate rush because he said this technology could take a long time to reach each individual consumer, and just because you have a compatible phone, it doesn't mean you'll actually be able to access the 5G network.