BT pledges UK-wide 5G by 2028
Written by: Richard Hook | Published:
EE has pledged to cover “half of the UK” by 2023 (credit: EE)

BT and EE have announced a plan to “connect the entire UK to 5G with a unified mobile, Wi-Fi and fibre infrastructure” within the next seven years.

BT-owned mobile network operator EE announced that it had increased its coverage to span 160 locations in the UK earlier this year and has pledged to cover half of the country by 2023.

The operator defines a location as '5G connected' if it “has a minimum population of 10,000 and [at least] a third of that total can receive a signal”. BT has reported that the demand for mobile network capacity increases by 40% each year.

EE was the first UK operator to launch a commercial 5G service in 2019 and claims it will achieve one million active 5G users within the next month.

As part of the planned expansion, EE recently secured 80MHz of spectrum in Ofcom’s latest auction of the 700MHz and 3.6-3.8GHz bands and expanded its signal reach by 4,500 square miles.

In order to achieve its broader coverage goal, EE has claimed it will create ‘on demand’ solutions, such as portable cells, drones and satellites to provide temporary and improved 5G support in busy places including stadiums, stations and airports.

Commenting on the expansion plans Philip Jansen, chief executive of BT Group, said: “Over the past 18 months we’ve helped the UK to meet the demands of a pandemic.

“We must now look ahead to deliver the strongest foundations to drive future growth. We’re making a uniquely ambitious, long-term commitment to drive high performance 5G further and faster, and to integrate it at the core with our fibre network for a seamless customer experience. Openreach was first to fibre, EE was first to 5G and together BT will be first to a fully converged future.”

BT said it will hold a series of “showcase events” featuring enhanced 5G connectivity starting this summer.

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