5G is edging closer to reality, with EE kicking off a trial of the next–generation tech in London’s Canary Wharf.
And with O2 and Vodafone also conducting their own tests, we should soon have a clearer idea of when we can expect to start using networks that put existing 4G infrastructure to shame.
So, how is EE getting on? And when will get an official launch date? Read on and we’ll tell you five things to know about EE’s 5G trial.
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1 Where’s it happening?
As mentioned, EE is kicking things off with a special trial in Canary Wharf in London.
Specifically, the test is taking place in Montgomery Square, picked because it has a high number of heavy data users visiting each day and it’s a relatively easy spot to install testing equipment.
2 Has EE got more sites primed?
Yes. Shoreditch’s Tech City will be just one of a further 10 sites to have 5G testing kit installed over the next month.
These will be tested by both businesses and consumers, giving EE a clear idea of how fast it can push its speeds and whether its infrastructure is sound enough to handle thousands of users connecting to its services every day.
3 So can any EE customers give it a try?
Sadly not. 5G networks don’t just need new antennas in order to work.
They also need dedicated 5G phones. At the moment, that means only special, non-commercially available smartphones can connect to the network.
5G phones are not due for release until next year, with top–end models from Samsung and Huawei expected to lead the charge.
Rumours from Apple’s supply chain suggest it might offer 5G in its 2019 iPhones too.
4 Has EE got a rollout date for its finished 5G network?
At the moment, EE has only disclosed that 5G will be available from 2019.
But with its parent company, BT, explaining that such networks cannot use existing antennas, any such rollout is likely to be limited and take a long time to find its way into the quieter corners of the UK.
Expect London to come first, with a phased rollout over the next few years.
5 How does EE’s trial stack up against its rivals?
O2 is set to use its eponymous areas as a 5G testing site, but it’s Vodafone that seems to be further down the track, with its 5G infrastructure being put in place this month in 40 sites across Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester.
While the latter does not anticipate a commercial launch until 2020, it may well be able to offer its super fast services in more places.