EE has officially launched 5G at a packed event in the centre of London. "It is day 1 of our 5G journey," said Marc Allera, CEO of BT's consumer brands.
EE launched the UK's first 4G network in 2012, claiming that there's now 4G coverage across 85 per cent of the UK's population with an average speed of 30Gbps. While 5G will offer greater performance, 4G will keep running alongside the new 5G service. Marc Allera has also confirmed that EE won't be throttling its 4G service to make the 5G look faster.
The next-gen network will be officially switched on on 30 May 2019, when it will be officially available to customers. The six initial cities will include London, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester.
The network will initially focus on outdoor areas, before moving to boost indoor areas. Further cities will follow in the roll-out over 2019, part of a three-phase plan that will progressively see 5G performance improving. We'll also see 5G across the busiest parts of Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield later in 2019.
In 2020 5G will come to Aberdeen, Cambridge, Derby, Gloucester, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Worcester and Wolverhampton.
Next-gen devices, like the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G will be available to pre-order from today, with EE promising a huge increasing in speeds and reliability across the network.
In EE's showcase of devices, the company confirmed that it would be stocking the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, LG V50 ThinQ, Oppo Reno 5G, but ominously no Huawei handsets on the list. Given the recent fracas between the US Government and Huawei, we're not surprised.
There will be a range of plans and roaming options, including bundles and swappables like video passes. Handset plans will start from £54 a month, offering 10-120GB plans, while SIM-only plans will cost from £32 a month, with 20-100GB of data available. Currently, 4G SIM-only plans start from £20 for 20GB, meaning that 5G is going to cost you around a £12 a month premium.
EE is also launching 5G broadband for homes in June, with plans to be revealed.
EE will also be launching 5GEE WiFi with the HTC 5G Hub, available for an upfront cost of £100 and with 50GB of data per month for £50 per month, or for £75 per month with 100GB of data per month.