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These 16 UK cities will be the first to get 5G thanks to EE

EE will also launch a 5G router as well as 5G phones from “multiple smartphone partners.”

Published onNovember 14, 2018

EE logo - 5G rollout

  • EE has mapped out which U.K. cities will be the first to receive 5G in 2019.
  • London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, and Manchester will be 5G “launch cities” with 10 more coming later in 2019.
  • EE says it has partnered with multiple partners to deliver 5G phones at launch. An EE 5G home router is also on the way.

U.K. mobile network EE has confirmed that 16 U.K. cities will be able to enjoy blisteringly fast 5G data speeds by the end of 2019.

The BT Group-owned company will initially flip the 5G switch in six cities — London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, and Birmingham — followed by a further 10 later in the year.

What will be 5G's killer app? Many industry players aren't sure yet
Arm CEO Simon Segars at Arm TechCon 2018.

EE explained in a press release that the launch cities were chosen due to their proximity to highly populated areas and commercial hotspots. These include London’s Hyde Park, Birmingham’s Bullring shopping center, and key airports and train stations.

The remaining ten cities are Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol.

EE UK 5G map

The country’s largest carrier by market share said that the first 1,500 sites that will be upgraded to 5G next year — which will transmit at up to 10Gbps — will carry as much as 25 percent of all data across the whole network.

Despite the selected sites covering just 15 percent of the U.K. population, EE said that the increased capacity is integral to enable businesses to take full advantage of the next generation mobile technology.

Of course, to take advantage of the faster data speeds, EE subscribers will need 5G phones… and they don’t exist just yet. Thankfully, EE has confirmed that it will launch its 5G network with “multiple smartphone partners” and will also sell an EE 5G Home router which could rival traditional home broadband.

The U.K.’s other major carriers — Vodafone, O2, and Three — have also promised to debut 5G next year, with each testing their own hardware in the race to be first following the spectrum auction earlier this year. At the moment, it seems as though that title will likely go to EE, as it did with 4G back in 2012.

Much like the U.S. 5G picture, it’s best to apply a wait and see approach with the 5G hype. That said, at least U.K. residents now have an idea of where it will debut when the 5G rush hits next year.

Up next: Intel introduces its 5G modem, pushes launch forward by 6 months

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