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BBC runs out of mobile data shortly before 5G broadcast

5G uses plenty of data and the BBC found this out the hard way when it tried broadcasting over the standard.

Published onMay 31, 2019

BBC 5G broadcast

5G has become a reality in several countries already, bringing faster speeds and lower latency to subscribers. But it also requires much larger data caps, as the BBC found out when conducting a broadcast over 5G (h/t: Gizmodo).

BBC host Rory Cellan-Jones told viewers that the broadcast over EE’s 5G network was delayed by 15 minutes because “the whole system went down” before going live.

“Turned out we’d run out of data on the SIM card inside our box of tricks [the cellular equipment box – ed]. And that goes to show just how much data you might be chewing up with one of these new 5G phones when and if they get to you,” the host said, adding that coverage was pretty limited in the U.K. right now.

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It’s definitely another reminder that for all 5G’s benefits, carriers should adjust their data plans to account for the faster speeds. After all, what’s the point of buying a sports car when it runs out of fuel after 10 minutes on the highway?

For what it’s worth, the BBC broadcast looked pretty sharp anyway, with no obvious glitches or quality issues. Cellan-Jones also noted that a speed test on a 5G-capable smartphone yielded speeds of 260Mbps. Meanwhile, our own Eric Zeman reported average speeds of roughly 190Mbps on the Sprint 5G network. Either way, we hope these speeds don’t drop too much when more subscribers join 5G networks.

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