EE yesterday announced plans to turn on its next-generation mobile network in six UK cities on 30 May. London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester will be first to experience 5G, which promises data speeds up to 20 times that of 4G.
In order to use 5G you need a compatible phone, and the mobile operator has confirmed that the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G will be the first such device available to UK consumers on its network, also going on sale on 30 May.
It's actually not the first 5G phone to go on sale in the UK, with the Mi Mix 3 5G available now from Vodafone, but you can't use 5G on that phone until Vodafone turns on its next-gen network.
Perks of being on one of EE's new 5G Smart plans include the ability to upgrade your plan at any time, get a device warranty for the entire duration of the contract, and benefit from a choice of BT Sport HD HDR, an exclusive Gamer's Data Pass, Music Data Pass, Video Data Pass or Roaming Data Pass. EE will also have the exclusive on Harry Potter: Wizards Unite when it launches.
"This is the start of the UK’s 5G journey and great news for our customers that want and need the best connections," said Marc Allera, CEO of BT's Consumer division. "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.
"We’re adding 5G to the UK’s number one 4G network to increase reliability, increase speeds, and keep our customers connected where they need it most. 5G will create new experiences with augmented reality, make our customers’ lives easier, and help launch entirely new businesses that we haven’t even imagined. We’re upgrading more than 100 sites to 5G every month from today to connect more places to what 5G can enable."
EE 5G coverage
EE's 5G plans beyond the initial six UK cities stretch to Bristol, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield, Liverpool, Hull, Leeds, Newcastle and Glasgow later this year, and Aberdeen, Cambridge, Derby, Gloucester, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Worcester and Wolverhampton in 2020.
Widespread 5G availability is not expected until well into next year. A full coverage map is shown below.
Only last week Vodafone confirmed that it would switch on its 5G network in selected UK cities on 3 July, so EE has pulled out all the stops to pip it to the post by more than a month. Vodafone still has the first 5G phone of course, albeit 5G that you can't yet use.