LATE TO THE PARTY O2 has announced that it'll be switching on its 5G network in October.
O2 has, until now, remained largely tight-lipped over its 5G plans, despite rivals EE and Vodafone already having switched on their networks and Three promising to follow suit with the launch of its 5G broadband service in August.
The network finally gave us some details on Thursday, confirming that it will begin its 5G rollout in October 2019 and promising that 20 towns and cities will see 5G services arrive by the end of the year.
O2's 5G network will initially switch on across "key hubs" in areas of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Slough and Leeds. Later in the year, it'll arrive in Blackpool, Bournemouth, Bristol, Coventry, Derby, Eton, Guildford, Leicester, Lisburn, Norwich, Nottingham, Reading, Stoke and Windsor.
By summer 2020, O2 is promising that it's 5G network will roll out to Aberdeen, Bradford, Brighton, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Cambridge, Glasgow, Hove, Kingston, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newbury, Newcastle, Northampton, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Southampton, Sunderland, Warrington and Wolverhampton.
In terms of compatible handsets, O2 will start selling the Galaxy S10 5G on 8 August, and it's likely that it'll also offer the Galaxy Note 10 - which is expected to be 5G compatible - when it arrives later in the month. The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 will also be available, with "other handsets and devices" to be announced later in the year.
Mark Evans, CEO, Telefónica UK, swooned: "5G is going to be a game-changer for our country. Whether it's for people or businesses, the power of this next-generation network is going to unlock a world of possibilities for our economy and society.
"As we switch on our network across the country, our intelligence-led roll-out prioritises the key areas in towns and cities first - the places where our customers need, and will use, 5G the most. We're also giving our customers maximum flexibility with our industry-leading custom plans, letting people adopt 5G at a time that's right for them."
O2's announcement comes just hours after the company confirmed a network agreement with Vodafone, which will see the two operators share active 5G equipment, such as radio antennas, in a bid to improve coverage faster as the infrastructure-heavy network is rolled out across the country. µ
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