EE is to launch 5G mobile connectivity in 16 UK cities in 2019, the telecoms firm has said. The company, which is part of the BT Group, will roll out the new network within London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast, as well as Birmingham and Manchester first.
The firm is currently running two trials of 5G connectivity in Canary Wharf and east London to test the real-world use of the new, faster networks.
The next generation of wireless mobile connections, 5G is expected to offer significant speed increases on 4G as well as new applications thanks to its lower latency.
Says Chief executive of BT’s consumer division Marc Allera:
“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.
As well as the initial six cities, EE said it would introduce the network to 10 more cities throughout 2019 – Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol – reaching a total of 1,500 sites during the year.
As part of the company’s planned rollout of 5G, EE said it will also launch a 5G home router as an alternative to fixed broadband, and will be launching “multiple” 5G smartphones in partnership with manufacturers, it said.
Commenting on the news, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said:
“I want London to be the world’s leading smart city and 5G expansion is at that heart of this ambition – it is good news for Londoners, innovation, and business. At City Hall we are working hard right across the capital to ensure we have the network infrastructure needed through our new Connected London programme.
“EE’s ambitious investment in 5G sites demonstrates that our city is a great place to invest in innovative and future-facing digital connectivity.”