EE has announced that it will launch 5G service in 16 UK cities in 2019 as it tries to be the first operator to offer 5G commercially.

The first six cities to receive 5G will be Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and Manchester.

EE also plans to offer 5G in Sheffield, Nottingham, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leicester, Leeds, Hull, Glasgow, Coventry and Bristol next year.

The company is currently conducting 5G trails in London after it launched its first 5G trial in the UK at Canary Wharf on 7th November.

The initial 1,500 sites that EE will upgrade to 5G will carry 25% of the entire network’s data. However, the network will only have the capability to reach 15% of the UK’s population.

EE plans to use multiple partners to introduce 5G smartphones and will debut a 5G home router to enable the same type of broadband.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer Division, said that the company eventually wants to have all its customers constantly connected to either 4G, 5G or Wi-Fi.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan welcomed EE’s planned 5G expansion, noting that he wants London to be “the world’s leading smart city” and that EE’s investment in 5G demonstrates that London is an ideal place for companies to back “innovative and future-facing digital connectivity.”

EE will upgrade the transmission at each proposed site to 10Gbps links, a process that the company already tested during its 5G trials in East London and Canary Wharf.