Mobile Devices

UK telecom EE to turn on 5G network on May 30

24 May 2019

One of the U.K.’s largest telecoms, EE, announced the date its 5G network will go live as well as details regarding plans and smartphones the company will be offering at launch.

EE will beat its main rival, Vodafone, to market with 5G as its network is set to go live on May 30. Vodafone recently announced plans to launch its own 5G networks in July in seven cities in the U.K.

EE said 5G will be available in six cities initially: London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh and Belfast. Much like all of the other companies launching 5G services, this is only the beginning of the rollout. EE will deploy service to other cities later in 2019 as the company is upgrading more than 100 sites every month to connect more places and cities.

These additional cities include: Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield. In 2020, EE will deploy 5G services to Aberdeen, Cambridge, Derby, Gloucester, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Worcester and Wolverhampton.

EE is now accepting pre-orders for 5G smartphones from Samsung with the ubiquitous Galaxy S10 5G, OnePlus’ 7 Pro 5G, LG’s V50 ThinQ and Oppo’s Reno 5G. The company will also have shortly a 5G Wi-Fi and home broadband device later this year.

EE’s data plans will start from 10 GB for $68 and extend up to 120 GB a month for $94. The company will also offer plans for different apps for sports and gaming for additional fees. No pricing was given for the actual smartphones but it will probably be close to what other telecoms are charging. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G in South Korea was priced at about $1,360 for 512 GB model and $1,230 for the 256 GB model. In Switzerland, the Reno 5G by Oppo is set for a price starting at $980 through Swisscom.

EE said 5G users can expect an increase in data speeds of around 100 to 150 Mbps with some breaking the 1 Gbps limit on 5G smartphones.

Deployment phases

In addition to deploying 5G services, EE is expanding its 4G coverage into rural areas and adding more capacity to 4G by upgrading existing 3G signals.

The first phase of 5G rollout that is happening now is non-standalone deployment as the 5G network will largely rely on the existing 4G LTE infrastructure.

Phase 2 of EE’s rollout will take place beginning in 2022 where a full next-generation 5G core network will be in place with enhanced chipset capabilities and increased availability to the 5G spectrum. This will allow devices to have a higher bandwidth and lower latency as well as enable new applications for mobile augmented reality, real-time health monitoring and mobile cloud gaming.

Phase 3 will begin in 2023 and introduce ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC), network slicing and multi-gigabit-per-second speeds. EE said this phase will allow for applications such as real-time traffic management of fleets of autonomous vehicles, massive sensor networks with millions of devices measuring air quality across the entire country and tactile internet for remote real-time interactions.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com


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