After a few years of anticipation, first 5G networks are finally available in the United Kingdom. Benefits of 5G technology are very obvious, such as higher connection speeds, better reliability, and lower latency compared to current 4G networks. Download speeds of 5G network can be up to 10 times faster than 4G. It means HD movies would download in seconds, instead of in minutes. As the 5G technology matures, it will be even more reliable and faster. In dense urban areas, the 4G connection can be problematic due to overuse. Here are available 5G networks in the United Kingdom:
While EE promises top speeds of more than 1Gbps, real-life tests show that EE 5G network consistently runs at between 200 and 400 Mbps. In the London area, the fastest 5G connection is at 550Mbps and it means that you can download a 1GB video in just 45 seconds. EE first tested the 5G network in 2017 and it managed to achieve a speed of 2.8Gbps at a controlled situation. It performed the test with Huawei using 64 x 64 Massive MIMO active antenna. EE also successfully acquired the 3.4GHz spectrum in the UK from the Ofcom auction in 2018. The company has confirmed that it will offer the 5G-capable Huawei Mate X foldable smartphone for its subscribers. Speed also depends on the type of smartphone that is 5G compatible. These phones can be found at www.fonehouse.co.uk.
Vodafone is offering 5G networks in 15 locations in the UK, including London, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, Cardiff, Bristol and Liverpool. The company promises to add further seven locations this year. Vodafone subscribers can get 5G smartphone models, Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and Mi Mix 3 5G. Vodafone formed a partnership with various businesses to offer 5G network to consumers. Vodafone worked with Qualcomm to test 5G network with Snapdragon X50 5G modem and is sharing active 5G equipment with O2.
Three UK has confirmed its 5G network this year, starting with London in August. Its mobile 5G model offerings will be available later this year. By the end of 2019, Three UK 5G network will be available in 25 cities and towns around the United Kingdom, including London, Glasgow, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Reading, Sheffield, and Sunderland. Three UK planned to offer Huawei Mate 20 X 5G, but with the ban of Huawei devices and technology in the US, this could change. Three UK is still considering the implication of using Huawei devices. It’s important to evaluate the short- and long-term impacts of using Huawei technology.
O2 will come late in October 2019, but they have confirmed upcoming availability in 20 cities and towns in the United Kingdom by the end of 2019, including London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Slough, and Leeds. By summer 2020, it is expected that O2’s 5G network will be available in 50 locations. O2 further told us that 5G availability in each city and town starts from public spaces, like transport hubs, shopping malls, sports stadium, and music venues. It may take a couple of years before dense residential areas in cities receive 5G connectivity. It’s commonly known that O2 will offer Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G and Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. Previously, O2 stated that it will also offer the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G, but at least initially, it may not be the case.
It has also been confirmed that Sky Mobile subscribers will access 5G network in November, although we still don’t know exactly when it will arrive. Sky Mobile is using O2’s network, so it will have to be available in the same cities, including London, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, Leeds, and Slough. But, there’s still no word on plans for expansion for now. Also, just like O2, Sky Mobile will initially offer Huawei Mate 20 X 5G and Samsung Galaxy 5G. As more 5G smartphone models available in the market, the provider may also offer those in the future.
BT confirmed that its 5G network will be launched this autumn, but there is still no exact date for that. BT is using EE’s cellular network, so its availability will be similar, especially in London, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, Manchester, and Birmingham. BT hasn’t confirmed its 5G devices.