(Pocket-lint) - OnePlus is committed to releasing a 5G-capable smartphone in 2019, and when it launches, EE will be the first in Europe to carry it.

EE, a UK mobile network operator, has announced a partnership with OnePlus to deliver 5G service to customers. The duo announced this partnership at the Qualcomm Summit event in Hawaii, where EE said it'll be "the first operator in the world to range" OnePlus' upcoming 5G phone. It also detailed the rollout of its 5G services in 16 UK cities, including London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham, and Manchester.

This is only phase one of EE's roll out of 5G. More areas will follow, as EE - which is part of BT Group - continues to upgrade its 4G network. It's currently planning to upgrade about 1,500 sites in 2019, covering roughly 15 per cent of the UK population. It's upgrading transmission to 10Gbps links at each 5G site, and has already tested the new links at its trial sites in Canary Wharf and East London.

As for the OnePlus 5G phone, it is unlikely be the OnePlus 7. Although OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei previously confirmed that next year's flagship OnePlus smartphone will be 5G, it seems that an all-new device line will be created instead.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer division, said regarding the deal: “EE and OnePlus have a shared vision: to give out customers the best connected experience possible.

"We’re working together on cutting edge technology to deliver that, and we’re leading the world on the journey to 5G," Allera added.


OnePlus first revealed at Mobile World Congress Shanghai in June that it's planning a 5G smartphone for 2019. OnePlus CEO and founder Pete Lau explained that, thanks to the company’s relationship with Qualcomm, it’s hoping to become one of the first 5G mobile phone makers. 

While at the Qualcomm Summit, Lau also confirmed OnePlus' 5G phone will feature Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 chip and X50 modem.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.