EE’s 5G launch transforms UK from “laggard to leader”
Written by: Philip Mason | Published:

EE has announced the launch of what it’s calling the UK’s first 5G services for businesses. The portfolio of products includes a network - which is anticipated to go live at the end of this month - alongside six new 5G smartphones and devices.

The network will see an initial roll-out in six cities across the UK, with an expected increase to ten by the end of this year. Sites involved in the first phase are London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester.

The network will use band n78 - which was auctioned earlier this year -, and will be built on top of EE’s existing 4G offering. The busiest sites in the UK will feature five 4G carriers supporting 5G. EE anticipates an increase in speed for those using the network of around 100-150Mbps even in busy areas, with some achieving 1Gbps.

The devices - which will be provided by manufacturers including OnePlus, Oppo and LG - will be based on the Snapdragon 855 mobile platform, alongside the Snapdragon X50 5G modem and Qualcomm Technologies' RF front-end (RFFE) solutions.

EE are also launching a variety of 5G business mobile plans, including both SIM only and ‘mobile sharer’ models. Prices, as quoted by the company, will start at £45 a month for 10BG of data.

Speaking of the launch, CEO of BT’s Enterprise Unit, Gerry McQuade said: “SMEs and larger businesses across the UK’s four capital cities, plus Birmingham and Manchester, will be the first to experience the game-changing benefits of 5G, with further coverage rolling out rapidly.

“We’re already working with our customers to help them maximise the potential of 5G. It will accelerate the growth of the UK economy by driving a fundamental change in how technology supports people, enables workplaces and simplifies business operations. We’re really proud to be sitting at the heart of this exciting transformation.”

Discussing the potential impact of the roll-out meanwhile, Kester Mann, principle analyst operators at CCS Insight, said: “EE’s launch highlights that the shift from 4G to 5G is an evolutionary one, focussed as it is on offering a more reliable mobile experience. It’s new propositions contain little that is truly innovative, but address existing customer pain-points without over-inflating expectations.

“In getting 5G as soon as next week, the UK will have completed a remarkable turnaround, from laggard to leader. In 2012, it become only the 53rd nation to launch 4G. Now it can justifiably claim to be one of the world’s 5G pace-setters.”

The initial launch will be followed by that of a new EE 5G fixed wireless broadband service.

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