5G technology is the next generation of mobile network and is expected to offer internet speeds several times that of current generation 4G.
EE said it will initially launch in six cities: London, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester, with more to follow before the end of the year and into 2020. It said it planned to reach 1,500 sites by the end of 2019.
EE also announced its new 5G mobile plans would be available to pre-order from Wednesday, ahead of the launch next week.
The telecoms firm announced earlier this year it would test its 5G mobile network during Glastonbury as part of its trials of the technology (see story above).
EE has said it will install five temporary masts across the Worthy Farm site, which will enable festival-goers to connect to 2G, 3G, 4G and new 5G networks.
EE boss Marc Allera said the rollout would help “keep the UK at the forefront of digital technology”.
Added Paolo Pescatore, Tech, Media & Telco Analyst:
“This represents a landmark moment for the UK, as EE will be the first operator to launch commercial 5G services. It is quite an accolade which builds upon its early mover advantage in 4G and firmly reinforces its network leadership over rivals.”
“However, there is lots of uncertainty surrounding 5G in light of the recent security concerns surrounding Huawei and the lack of any Huawei 5G smartphones is noticeable. It’s a move that makes sense for now.”
“Consumers are starting to be wary about Huawei products and quite possibly other Chinese products. This will have a negative impact on 5G consumer take-up in the short term.”
Meanwhile mobile operator Vodafone confirmed it will launch 5G across seven cities in the UK on July 3, with another 12 cities to follow by the end of the year.