U.K. operator EE has officially launched commercial 5G services in a number of U.K. cities, the telco said in a release.
The carrier said that 5G services are initially available in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester.
EE will also be introducing 5G across the busiest parts of Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield during the rest of the year. In 2020, Aberdeen, Bournemouth, Brighton, Cambridge, Dundee, Exeter, Ipswich, Norwich, Plymouth and York will receive 5G coverage, EE said.
The telco said that consumers and businesses can order 5G devices, including smartphones from Samsung, OnePlus, LG, and Oppo, a mobile broadband device from HTC, and a 5G home broadband router from Huawei.
The operator also said it expects customers to experience an increase in speeds of around 100-150Mbps even in the busiest areas.
EE said that the commercial launch is the first phase of the telco’s 5G rollout: a Non-standalone 5G New Radio deployment focused on using the combined power of 4G and 5G technologies. Phase 2, from 2022, will introduce the full 5G core network, enhanced device chipset capabilities, and increased availability of 5G-ready spectrum.
EE said that higher bandwidth and lower latency, coupled with expansive and growing 5G coverage, will enable a more responsive network, enabling immersive mobile augmented reality, real-time health monitoring, and mobile cloud gaming.
A third phase, beginning in 2023, will introduce Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC), network slicing and multi-gigabit-per-second speeds. This phase of 5G will enable critical applications like real-time traffic management of fleets of autonomous vehicles and massive sensor networks.
Rival telco Vodafone recently announced that it will commercially launch its 5G network in seven cities across the U.K. on July 3.
The telco said that the new technology will be commercially available for both consumers and business customers.
Vodafone also said that it will also offer 5G roaming in the U.K., Germany, Italy and Spain over the summer. Initial 5G services will be available in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London, while Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton will follow later this year.
Last year, U.K. telcos obtained spectrum for the future provision of 5G services. BT-owned EE won 40 megahertz for which it paid £303 million ($395 million). Three secured 20 megahertz of 3.4 GHz spectrum at a cost of £151.3 million. Vodafone won 50 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.4GHz frequency band after paying £378 million, while Telefónica-owned O2 picked up 40 megahertz for £318m.