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EE 5G UK rollout: five things you need to know

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EE has announced plans to start rolling out 5G in the UK.

The news comes just days after mobile-maker OnePlus revealed it was working on a new 5G phone for release next year and follows rumours that Apple is also readying a 5G–compatible iPhone for launch in 2020.

So, when will you be able to try out EE’s new super fast network? And where?

Read on and we’ll tell you five things you need to know about EE’s 5G rollout.

How does EE compare to rival networks? What does it offer besides a super fast service? Head to our network page for all the gen you need.

1 Coming ‘mid–2019’

EE says that it will start rolling out its 5G network in ‘mid-2019’. That’s most probably been left deliberately vague, meaning we could be looking at anywhere from May until August of next year.

The BT–owned network kicked off a trial of the ultra fast new service in London’s Canary Wharf last month, with speeds of up to 1,000 times that of current 4G LTE being tested.

Rivals O2, Vodafone and Three are also trying out their own 5G platforms.

2 Six cities to start with

EE 5G first cities

It’s no surprise that EE is focusing its 5G efforts on major cities to start with.

London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester will be the first places to get a taste.

Of course, users in these cities will need to have a 5G-compatible smartphone.

While Samsung and Huawei are said to be priming such devices for launch next year, they may not be available in large numbers by the mid 2019 switch on date.

3 10 more cities by the end of the year

Thankfully, EE says that by the end of 2019, it will have rolled out 5G to a further 10 cities.

These are Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol.

However, smaller towns and rural areas may have to wait some time to see the benefits of 5G.

It’s worth remembering that many rural areas still lack 4G, meaning the jump to next generation networks may be many years away.

4 Expect higher prices

Network - EE

It’ll come as no surprise that EE is warning those who want to try out 5G that they’ll have to pay a premium for the privilege.

Speaking with the BBC, BT’s consumer division head Mark Allera said users would ‘pay a little more’ to access the new network.

Don’t be surprised if that equates to around an additional £10 a month for something that only works in selected locations.

5 A super fast future


Allera said that he wants EE to offer its customers access to 4G, 5G or Wi–Fi ‘100% of the time’.

That’s a bold claim when rural locations are still struggling with not spots and a lack of infrastructure.

However, it does at least seem that networks are keen to be proactive and make the case for 5G, a welcome change for the slow and chaotic rollout of 4G all this years ago.

Keen to know more about 5G in general? Here's a handy primer.

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