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22 May 2019

EE announces 5G switch-on date

30 May is the date set for the initial switch-on - beating Vodafone to become the first UK 5G network.

EE has announced that the UK's first 5G service will be launching on 30 May in six cities: London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester.

The UK's biggest mobile network has said that it expects 5G customers to experience an increase in speeds of around 100-150Mbps, even in the busiest areas, which is a massive upgrade on current 4G speeds. EE notes that the fastest speed possible when it launched 4G in 2012 was just 50Mbps.

Some customers could even break the one gigabit-per-second milestone on their 5G smartphones, which would be fast enough to download a Blu-Ray movie in two minutes.

See how EE fares in our survey of the UK's best and worst mobile networks.

What are EE's 5G plans?

After the initial launch next week, EE will continue to roll out 5G with more than 100 new 5G sites per month being added, and 10 more cities earmarked for a 5G launch in 2019. These cities are:

  • Bristol
  • Coventry
  • Leicester
  • Nottingham
  • Sheffield
  • Liverpool
  • Hull
  • Leeds
  • Newcastle
  • Glasgow

Plans to spread into smaller towns will be implemented in 2020 with places including Cambridge, Peterborough, Plymouth and Southampton selected for a launch in a couple of years time.

Marc Allera, chief executive of BT's consumer brands EE, BT and Plusnet, said: 'This is the start of the UK's 5G journey, and great news for our customers that want and need the best connections. 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.'

How much will 5G with EE cost?

EE will be offering 5G handset plans, which will start from £54 per month for 10GB and go up to £74 per month for 120GB.

Sim-only deals start from £32 per month for 20GB and rise to £52 per month for 100GB.

EE 5G deals come with up to three choosable 'Swappable Benefits', which give you added extras. These include unlimited video or music streaming, free roaming in more than 50 countries and the ability to stream BT Sport on your phone in high-dynamic range (HDR).

Plans also come with EE's 'Service Pack' at no extra cost, which gives you £10 to spend on cases and screen protectors, annual device and account MOTs and EE's device guarantee for manufacturer faults. which lasts until you upgrade or leave.

Which mobile phones will EE offer with 5G?

EE's handset plans come with a choice of: Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Oppo Reno 5G, LG V50 ThinQ and One Plus 7 Pro 5G,

Is EE 5G worth signing up for?

With coverage being heavily restricted at launch, it goes without saying that the majority of people may want to wait until coverage is expanded, which could take a couple of years for those outside the UK's major cities.

For those who are interested in 5G, it might still be worth waiting to see what the other mobile networks have planned before deciding which one to go with as the competition may ultimately end up lowering prices and ensuring better service for consumers.

Read more in our guide on everything you need to know about 5G.