EE began its 5G service on 30th May in six UK cities, making it the country’s first mobile provider to do so.
Residents of Manchester, London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Birmingham and Belfast are the first to have access to the faster mobile service.
Later this year, EE plans to roll-out service to ten additional cities – Sheffield, Nottingham, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leicester, Leeds, Hull, Glasgow, Coventry and Bristol.
EE also said that the 30th May launch was only the first phase of its 5G roll-out, with 2022 as the target date for 5G service availability throughout the country.
The cost of 5G service begins at £54 per month for 10 gigabytes of data and increases to £74 per month for 120 gigabytes of data. However, customers need to purchase new handsets that have 5G capability.
Currently, there are only a few handsets available for those who wish to be among the first to adopt 5G. EE launched its 5G service with an exclusive offering of OnePlus’ 7 Pro 5G, which will be available this week. EE and OnePlus have been working closely together to optimise this smartphone for use on the new 5G network. Although the 5G version of this handset has the appearance and feel of a OnePlus 7 Pro, OnePlus has made a lot of internal modifications to improve the phone’s antenna management.
The LG V50 ThinQ, Oppo’s Reno 5G and Samsung’s S10 5G will also be on offer in June.
EE is currently not including Huawei’s Mate 20 X 5G in its range of 5G handsets on offer. A spokesman for EE said that it was “pausing the launch” of Huawei 5G smartphones while it works with Google and the Chinese firm to conduct the amount of quality assurance and testing that is appropriate for its customers.
The provider promises that customers will experience three major improvements when they switch from 4G to 5G.
- Increased capacity. Customers will more easily receive mobile service in busy locations, such as stadiums and railway stations.
- Increased speed. Average speeds will increase to 150Mbps compared with the top speed of 50Mbps at 4G’s launch. Some customers will experience speeds of up to one gigabit, with speeds improving for everyone as the 5G network matures.
- Low latency. Online games and services utilising augmented reality will greatly benefit from this feature, as there will only be a short pause between the time you instruct your phone to transmit data of some type and the time it sends it. EE has negotiated an exclusive deal with Niantic to offer Harry Potter: Wizards United, an augmented reality game, after its UK launch this summer.
Initial speed tests conducted by The Verge confirm the dramatic improvement of 5G over 4G. Using a OnePlus 7 Pro 5G smartphone, a reporter for the technology network remained continually connected to EE’s 5G service while walking along The Strand to Covent Garden and then to London Charing Cross. The average speed was about 200 Mbps with 5G compared to about 25 Mbps with 4G, with the maximum speed of about 510 Mbps with 5G close to the Covent Garden area.