EE, the UK’s number one mobile network and part of BT Group, today announced that it is switching on 5G sites in 16 UK cities in 2019.
EE sais that the first launch cities will be the UK’s four capital cities – London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast – and Birmingham and Manchester.
EE is building 5G in the busiest parts of the six launch cites – including Hyde Park in London, Manchester Arena, Belfast City Airport, the Welsh Assembly, Edinburgh Waverly train station and Birmingham’s Bullring.
As well as the six launch cities, through 2019 EE will also be introducing 5G across the busiest parts of ten more UK cities: Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol.
EE will launch with multiple smartphone partners, as well as an EE 5G Home router with external antenna, to showcase the power of 5G for broadband.
The BT Technology team is virtualising elements of the core network for 5G rollout in 2019, and is building a next generation 5G core in line with the next stage of global 5G standards, with virtualised network functions on a cloud native infrastructure, creating the basis for a smart and fully converged agile network. The BT 21CN backbone network is Petabit-class, and will ensure the future-proofed scale required.
EE sayd that its 5G rollout strategy is determined by the number of business and consumer customers the EE network connects in busy places, and the amount of data those customers use.
The company is upgrading transmission to 10Gbps links at each 5G site, and has tested the new links – the fastest in use anywhere in the UK – at its trial sites in Canary Wharf and across East London.
EE is currently trialling live 5G in Canary Wharf, and parts of East London.