EE announces 5G launch locations for 2019
EE, the mobile giant which is part of BT Group, is to switch on 5G sites in 16 UK cities in 2019, starting with London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester.
The company is building 5G in the busiest parts of the six launch cites – including Hyde Park in London, Manchester Arena, Belfast City Airport, the Welsh Assembly, Edinburgh Waverly train station and Birmingham’s Bullring.
It will also be introducing 5G across the busiest parts of ten more UK cities throughout the year, including Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol.
The network will launch with multiple smartphone partners, as well as an EE 5G Home router with external antenna, to showcase the power of 5G for broadband.
The BT technology team is virtualising elements of the core network for 5G rollout in 2019, and is building a next generation 5G core in line with the next stage of global 5G standards.
“Adding 5G to the UK’s number one 4G network will increase reliability, increase speeds and keep our customers connected where they need it most,” said the CEO of BT’s consumer division Marc Allera.
“This is another milestone for the UK and for our network journey – we’ll keep evolving as we move to one, smart network for our customers. We have an ambition to connect our customers to 4G, 5G or WiFi 100 per cent of the time.”
In the last three months alone, more than 2.1 million individual customers connected around Waterloo station, with just one site at the station carrying more than 100 terabytes of data per day.
The first 1,500 sites that EE is upgrading to 5G in 2019 carry 25 per cent of all data across the whole network, but only cover 15 per cent of the UK population.
The 5G is built on top of EE’s award-winning 4G network, so customers’ 5G experience will be dictated by the quality of both 4G and 5G, as well as the underlying fixed network.
EE is upgrading transmission at each 5G site and has tested the new links – the fastest in use anywhere in the UK – at its trial sites in Canary Wharf and across East London.
It is also continuing to upgrade 4G sites as part of its overall network strategy, while turning 3G signal into 4G to enable more spectrum for a better network experience.
The busiest sites will have five carriers of 4G spectrum supporting the new 5G spectrum, making them the highest speed sites of any UK operator in 2019.
As well as increasing capacity, EE is expanding 4G coverage into rural parts of the UK to give rural communities the coverage and capacity that they need.