EE to launch 5G connectivity in 16 United Kingdom cities from 2019

EE will fling 5G services at 16 cities in Blighty next year

The firm, part of BT, aims to become the UK's first 5G provider and will switch on 5G services in 16 cities in 2019.

EE, which was the first United Kingdom network to launch 4G back in 2012, announced on Tuesday that it'll first be bringing the next-gen communications tech to Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and Manchester; targeting the "busiest" parts of the cities, such as Manchester Airport and London's Hyde Park.

EE will introduce 5G smartphones along with multiple partners alongside an EE 5G Home router for 5G broadband.

Coverage won't be total: 5G will be offered in the busiest parts of the six launch cites - including Hyde Park in London, Manchester Arena, Belfast City Airport, the Welsh Assembly, Edinburgh Waverley train station and Birmingham's Bullring. Throughout 2019, the mobile operator will roll out 5G services across the busiest parts of 10 more United Kingdom cities - Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Glasgow, Nottingham, Hull, Sheffield, Bristol, Coventry and Leicester.

There's also the cost of using 5G with EE confirming it will be more expensive than current 4G price plans.

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Marc Allera, CEO of BT's consumer division, said: "We're confident that we can bring 5G to the busiest parts of Edinburgh and the United Kingdom in 2019". In an example given, one EE facility at Waterloo Station carries on average over 100TB of data per day.

The sites EE will upgrade to 5G carry 25pc of all data across the network, but cover only 15pc of the population, so should make "the biggest difference to the most people". "We have an ambition to connect our customers to 4G, 5G or WiFi 100 per cent of the time". Each 5G site will boast transmission links of up to 10Gbps and connect to the Petabit-class BT 21CN backbone network.

Meanwhile EE have said that they are still upgrading their 4G network too and the busiest sites will soon have access to five carriers of 4G spectrum (bands), supporting the new 5G spectrum and making them the highest speed sites of any United Kingdom operator in 2019. This is another milestone for the United Kingdom and for our network journey - we'll keep evolving as we move to one, smart network for our customers.

In August, EE was named as the UK's best network for the 5th year in a row. New devices and functionality are being tested in the state-of-the-art Borehamwood test lab.

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