5G is set to be launched in stages across the UK, with the first rollout already underway. But which cities have the best 5G connection, and when will it be available near you?
Below, we tell you everything you need to know about 5G, and when you can expect it to launch near you.
What is 5G?
5G stands for fifth generation, and is the latest mobile network connection to launch worldwide. 5G promises a faster, more responsive and reliable mobile network, with improved download speeds, greater capacity and reduced buffering when streaming media.
5G is of course, speedier than its 4G counterpart. For instance, with 4G the current maximum download speed is 300Mbps. On 5G however, there's the potential to reach 10Gbps, allowing you to download a feature length film in seconds and stream 4k media without lag or buffering.
5G on Vodafone
Vodafone’s 5G UK service launched during July 2019 in seven major UK cities: Glasgow, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff and Bristol.
Following this initial rollout, Vodafone will then add Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton to the list. The dates for this have not yet been confirmed, but we can expect to see 5G in these cities sometime in 2019.
Vodafone differs from the other networks as it is the first to announce 5G roaming, which will be available soon after the initial 5G rollout in the UK. It will initially be available to 5G customers travelling in Germany, Italy and Spain, with more countries expected in the future.
5G on EE
EE launched their 5G network in May 2019, making it the first major UK network to officially switch on 5G. They launched in London, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Belfast, Manchester and Cardiff, so if you have a 5G-ready device and are visiting these cities, you’ll be able to connect to and use a 5G network.
Following these cities, EE will then launch 5G in Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield, by the end of 2019.
In 2020, 5G will be available across more cities on the EE network, including Aberdeen, Cambridge, Derby, Gloucester, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Wolverhampton and Worcester.
5G on O2
O2 has confirmed that Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London will be the first UK cities to access 5G on its network. They have not yet announced an official launch date, only that this will occur sometime during 2019.
O2 has not announced anything further, regarding next cities or dates for the following rollouts, but we can expect 5G on O2 to be launched in more UK cities during 2020.
What are the best covered cities?
Taking all this information into account, the best-connected cities when 5G rolls out will be London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Belfast and Cardiff. These cities will all have 5G connection by the end of 2019 with at least two phone networks available in each location. Liverpool, Bristol and Southampton also look set to become strongly-connected 5G cities, with all three networks announcing their plans to rollout 5G by 2020.
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