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(Pocket-lint) - Sky Mobile has launched its 5G service in 20 cities and towns, which is free for new and existing customers with supported handsets.

Some might be surprised to learn that it wasn't already available, with all regions expected to be activated by the end of 2019, but after what seems to be a short delay it is now fully operational.

The extended service is available at no extra cost to all users who sign up to Sky's VIP program - itself a free loyalty scheme for all Sky customers.

If you don't want to join Sky VIP, you can still get access to the 5G network for free for one month and then £5 on top of your existing price plan for each month after.

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Using O2's network as an MVNO, Sky Mobile 5G is now available in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Leeds, Slough, Leicester, Lisburn, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle, Bradford, Sheffield, Coventry, Nottingham, Norwich, Bristol, Derby and Stoke.

A total of 50 UK destinations are said to be active by this summer.

When on Sky VIP, prices for Sky Mobile 5G are the same as the existing 4G plans. They start at £6 per month for 3GB of data SIM only.

Currently, three 5G handsets are available through Sky Mobile: the Samsung Galaxy A90 5G, Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G.

Prices for handset deals start at £28 per month with no up-front cost - £6 for the plan, £22 for the Galaxy A90 5G.

Writing by Rik Henderson.