BT-OWNED EE will launch 5G services in 16 cities in the UK next year, touting it as a "premium" offering for customers in the busiest parts of the country.
EE, which was the first UK network to launch 4G back in 2012, announced on Tuesday that it'll first be bringing the next-gen communications tech to Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and Manchester; targeting the "busiest" parts of the cities, such as Manchester Airport and London's Hyde Park.
The firm will then introduce its 5G network - which is currently being tested in two live trials in Canary Wharf and East London's tech hub - to a further 10 cities throughout 2019; Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol, reaching a total of 1,500 sites during the year.
"The first 1,500 sites that EE is upgrading to 5G in 2019 carry 25 per cent of all data across the whole network, but only cover 15 per cent of the UK population," the operator explained. "EE is upgrading to 5G where it can make the biggest difference to the most people."
To coincide with the albeit somewhat limited rollout, EE is also promising to start flogging "multiple" 5G smartphones next year, along with its own 5G home router to "showcase the potential" of the wireless connectivity.
Marc Allera, CEO of BT's Consumer division, swooned: "Adding 5G to the UK's number one 4G network will increase reliability, increase speeds, and keep our customers connected where they need it most.
"This is another milestone for the UK and for our network journey - we'll keep evolving as we move to one, smart network for our customers. We have an ambition to connect our customers to 4G, 5G or WiFi 100 per cent of the time."
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, is also pretty chuffed about EE's plans, stating: "I want London to be the world's leading smart city and 5G expansion is at the heart of this ambition - it is good news for Londoners, innovation, and business. At City Hall we are working hard right across the capital to ensure we have the network infrastructure needed through our new Connected London programme.
"EE's ambitious investment in 5G sites demonstrates that our city is a great place to invest in innovative and future-facing digital connectivity. µ
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