EE will switch on its 5G service in six cities on May 30, ahead of rival Vodafone’s release date in July.
If you are an EE customer in Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and Manchester then long wait for 5G is very nearly over. If you are not in one of these cities where EE is launching 5G it will not necessarily be long until are, with EE announcing plans for 10 more cities to be added this year.
Prices for 5G – which require 5G compatible handsets or routers to take advantage of the technology – will start at £54 per month for 10 gigabytes of data.
“This is the start of the UK’s 5G journey and great news for our customers that want and need the best connections,” says Marc Allera, Chief Executive of BT’s consumer division, which owns EE.
Though there is a long road ahead, with EE admitting that its launch is just the first phase of its roll-out, with “full next-generation 5G” not available until 2022.
Several other countries have announced 5G services, including South Korea and the US.
According to the mobile operator there will be three major improvements for customers making the swap from 4G to 5G:
- Increased capacity – making it easier to get service in busy places such as railway stations and stadiums.
- Average speeds will go to 150Mbps compared with a top speed of 50Mbps when 4G was launched.
- Low latency – of particular benefit for new services such as those using augmented reality.
Like other UK mobile operators EE currently uses Huawei’s equipment, though says it is in the process of removing it from its 4G network.
Mr Allera told the BBC, “There is no current government guidance to suggest we should not use Huawei, but if the guidance changes we will reconsider. That will be disruptive but there are other people that provide the equipment.”