This morning, EE flipped the switch on the UK’s first commercial 5G network. The signal is available in six cities around the UK, with EE (and other vendors) promising to bring it to more areas of the country over the next few years.
As well as the much-heralded increase of download speed, 5G users will also have a more stable connection if they want to stream content or make a video call. But for that, they’ll have to pay a price. You won’t automatically get to use 5G if you’re locked into a 4G plan.
You’ll need to buy a new plan from EE (currently the only available provider) and they start at around £54 a month. And you’ll also need to be in a location where it’s supported, currently, that’s London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham, and Manchester.
‘We’ve started with 5G in some of the busiest parts of the UK, the widest range of 5G devices in the UK, and plans that give customers the best mobile connection and great benefits,’ said Marc Allera, the CEO of BT’s consumer brands, which includes EE. That’s only half the story. You’ll also need a 5G-capable device that can take advantage of the tech.
At present, that limits you to the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, a 5G variant of the brilliant OnePlus 7 Pro Android phone that was launched earlier this month. It’s available from EE in the fetching Nebula Blue color with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB ROM. Pricing plans start at £59 or a 30GB plan for £69 per month and £50 upfront for the phone.
If you use any other device, literally any other phone and if it’s on any UK network other than EE, then at present it’s not 5G ready. OnePlus isn’t the only company producing 5G-capable blowers? There’s also the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and the Oppo Reno 5G. Perhaps more than any other company, Huawei is ahead in the 5G game – although, well, you know the score there.
Although pricing is currently high, it’ll come down as competition in the 5G space hots up. Vodafone is set to roll out a 5G service across seven cities at the start of July and other networks like O2 and Three are also developing their 5G service. And you can expect that most of the new phones coming out towards the end of this year and next will be 5G capable as well. So you’ve got plenty of time.