Industry analysts believe that mobile network operators in the UK will begin rolling out the country’s first 5G services in the fourth quarter of 2019.
EE, which is part of the BT Group, is testing the next-generation mobile connections technology in real-life settings to help understand the infrastructure required to sustain a 5G network.
Last month the company began a 5G trial in Canary Wharf. It has now added sites that cover Old Street, Cheapside, St Paul’s and Bartholomew Square in east London.
Provost Street, City Road, Central Street, Finsbury Circus Garden and Clerkenwell Street have also been added as 5G hotspots as part of the test.
EE said businesses and consumers in these areas are being invited to join the trial, which will first use 5G as an alternative to fixed broadband.
Says BT chief technology and information officer Howard Watson:
“Deploying this brand new layer of our EE mobile network is far from straightforward, and this trial has helped us to understand – and learn how to overcome – the significant challenges that we’ll face in the coming years.
“We’re also learning about the coverage we can achieve with 5G New Radio on our new 3.4GHz spectrum, both indoors and in densely cluttered streets.”
Meanwhile the UK’s fourth largest mobile network operator by subscribers, Three, is to invest £2 billion in launching 5G. The largest holder of 5G compliant spectrum in the UK market, Three could be set to dramatically increase its share of the UK’s telecoms market as a result.
Says Three’s CEO, Dave Dyson.
“We have always led on mobile data and 5G is going to be another game changer,”
Three has yet to confirm a launch date for its 5G offering, but it is expected to be among the UK’s first movers.
“We have been planning our approach to 5G for many years and we are well positioned to lead on this next generation technology. These investments are the latest in a series of important building blocks to deliver the best end-to-end data experience for our customers,”