Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at uSwitch.com, comments: “O2 is finally joining the 5G party as it becomes the last of the UK’s major network coverage providers to unveil its next-generation service.
“The network has taken its time to join its rivals, realising that it is more important to get things right than be first, and its users can now get excited by the prospect of an October launch date.
“Faster speeds and better connectivity are always real draws for smartphone users and there is little doubt that 5G is a significant step forward for the telecoms industry.
“But O2 still hasn’t told consumers know how its 5G services will be priced. Customers will value competitive pricing highly, so will not be able to make an informed decision on which 5G provider to choose until all the information is available to them.
“This launch is especially good news for Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Slough and Leeds, and it is encouraging to see how O2 is planning to use the new technology to resolve existing capacity issues in busy areas – particularly transport hubs.
“However, there remains a risk that the 5G roll-out could worsen the UK’s digital divide. The launch areas generally already enjoy superior connectivity to much of the rest of the country, and concerns abound that 5G will not address issues like ‘not spots’, or at least not in the immediate future.
“Now the whole industry has revealed their 5G plans it is important to start spelling out the benefits to consumers. Our recent research found that barely one in 20 consumers cares about this new technology, with better functionality and crucially price deemed far more important when buying a new handset.
“The arrival of 5G will most likely transform how UK consumers use data and their mobiles, but if half the country is left looking on from the sidelines, it will create a nation of digital haves and have-nots. Now the race is on to roll 5G out to all the UK’s towns and cities.”