The U.K. mobile operator, EE, has announced plans to roll out 5G connectivity in 16 cities next year. The firm said it plans to launch in six cities initially, including in the capitals of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, and then it plans to bring it to ten additional cities during 2019. Initially, the firm wants to serve the busiest parts of the launch cities in order to give the more under-pressure areas some respite.
The initial launch cities will be London, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, Birmingham, and Manchester. Throughout 2019 it will come to additional cities including Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, and Sheffield. Some of those busy places where the firm wants to deliver 5G initially include Hyde Park in London, Manchester Arena, Belfast City Airport, the Welsh Assembly, Edinburgh Waverly train station and Birmingham’s Bullring.
EE is a part of BT Group, Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer division, said the following about today’s news:
“Adding 5G to the UK’s number one 4G network will increase reliability, increase speeds, and keep our customers connected where they need it most. This is another milestone for the UK and for our network journey – we’ll keep evolving as we move to one, smart network for our customers. We have an ambition to connect our customers to 4G, 5G or WiFi 100% of the time.”
To accompany the launch of 5G, EE also plans to begin selling 5G smartphones with its partners and introduce a 5G Home router that will deliver 5G broadband – it said this will showcase the power of 5G for broadband. It’s not clear yet whether 5G will come to replace typical broadband setups in the near future but 5G will deliver as good, if not better speeds.
Additionally, EE plans to carry on upgrading 4G sites while turning 3G signal into 4G. This will free up spectrum for an improved experience but it will also mean a loss of network for those still using 3G-only mobile devices.