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EE to launch UK 5G network on May 30

UK News | Published:

It will be the first 5G network to go live in the UK, initially across six cities.

(Rui Vieira/PA)

EE is to launch its 5G mobile network in the UK on May 30.

The BT-owned telecoms giant said it will be the first operator in the UK to launch the new, high-speed mobile network.

5G technology is the next generation of mobile network and is expected to offer internet speeds several times that of current generation 4G.

EE said it will initially launch in six cities: London, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester, with more to follow before the end of the year and into 2020.

It said it planned to reach 1,500 sites by the end of 2019, including the “busiest parts” of Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.

EE also announced its new 5G mobile plans would be available to pre-order from Wednesday, ahead of the launch next week.

The telecoms firm announced earlier this year it would test its 5G mobile network during Glastonbury as part of its trials of the technology.

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EE has said it will install five temporary masts across the Worthy Farm site, which will enable festival-goers to connect to 2G, 3G, 4G and new 5G networks.

EE boss Marc Allera said the rollout would help “keep the UK at the forefront of digital technology”.

Fellow mobile operator Vodafone confirmed it will launch 5G across seven cities in the UK on July 3, with another 12 cities to follow by the end of the year.

EE confirmed a number of 5G ready smartphones would be available on its new network, including devices from Samsung, OnePlus, LG, HTC and Oppo.

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However, there was no mention of Huawei, after Google confirmed compliance with a US government order which forces US companies to stop trading with the Chinese firm.

The block means Google will stop supplying its Android operating system – which powers Huawei phones – to the company’s new devices, however it will continue to support devices already on sale.

Mr Allera said EE had chosen to “pause” the sale of Huawei 5G phones, adding that the company would not restart sales “until we get the information and confidence and the long-term security that our customers – when they buy those devices – are going to be supported for the lifetime that they’ve got the device with us”.

EE also confirmed it currently uses Huawei equipment in its network infrastructure but is in the process of phasing it out.

Mr Allera said the company had “worked for decades with government” and “at the moment we have no instructions to change our plans” on security fears around the use of Huawei in 5G networks.

The Government is yet to announce its decision on whether the Chinese firm should be allowed as part of telecoms infrastructure following an official review.

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