EE, which is part of the BT Group has just announced it will switching on the UK’s first 5G service on May 30th.
5G is a new type of wireless communication. If you use a smartphone to connect to the internet while you're out and about, you’ll typically use 4G. 5G (or fifth generation) is the next of mobile network, offering a faster and more stable mobile connection on-the-go.
The BT Group has been working for years with partners on 5G research and trials to help bring it to the UK and 5G is finally set to launch on the new 3.4Ghz frequency later this month.
What are the advantages of 5G over 4G?
5G means faster data speeds: 5G networks are around 10x faster than 4G, meaning data is transferred more quickly, bringing faster uploads and downloads for things like movies, music, photos and more.
5G has lower latency: Latency is the time between an action being performed (such as a player pressing a trigger in a video game, or a viewer hitting Play on a movie) and the response. 5G has a latency speed of under 1 millisecond, in contrast to 19 milliseconds with 4G. This means faster responses in gaming and playing things like movies. The video below by Ericsson - one of BT’s partners - explains how it works.
5G will provide a more reliable and stable connection: Currently in busy places like music concerts and football stadiums, the amount of people using the 4G network means it can be a struggle to do things like upload pictures to Instagram, post Tweets or load web pages. 5G allows greater capacity, so more people can use the mobile network at the same time without interruptions.
What will 5G do for me?
Here are just some of the ways 5G will make a difference to the way you use your phone….
- Web pages will load faster
- Videos will load more quickly when streaming from places like Netflix and iPlayer
- There will be less buffering to interrupt video playback
- You’ll be able to download a full movie or album within seconds
- Photos and videos in your Facebook or Instagram feed will load more quickly
- During multiplayer games fast response times gives you the advantage
- Video calls will be smoother with less drop-outs
- Apps will download and update more quickly
Is there anything else 5G can do?
5G will also make a significant differences to business and public sector organisations, with BT’s Enterprise unit gearing up to offer a range of 5G services for businesses later this year.
The impact of 5G on businesses is likely to be an evolutionary journey. At launch, 5G speeds will offer superfast data transfer and greater reliability, allowing businesses to work faster and smarter than ever before. Over time, 5G will support a new generation of converged applications, connecting seamlessly across fixed, wi-fi and mobile networks. This will allow businesses to switch instantly, seamlessly and securely between these networks so that they benefit from the best possible connection, whenever or wherever they are.
As the technology matures, 5G will unlock a wealth of exciting possibilities for public services, automotive, transport and logistics, health and social care, manufacturing, energy, and broadcasting and entertainment, amongst others.
For example, in the healthcare sector, thanks to the quick response time 5G enables, medical operations could be performed remotely. BT and Ericsson have been working on a robotic glove that could physically operate on a patient while it is controlled by a surgeon somewhere else. This could reduce wait times and increase the number of operations that able to be performed and crucially reduce the risk of infection.
5G could also be deployed in ambulances to help save lives. First responders can have a secure, near instant video links to medical specialists located remotely.
Broadcasters like BT Sport will broadcast selected football matches using 5G. Production can controlled remotely, with match footage captured by wireless cameras around the stadium being sent back to the studio using 5G. This means greater efficiency as fewer cameramen will be needed, but will also aid creativity because more cameras can be used at such events.
Is 5G available in the UK?
In 2018 EE showcased the UK’s first 5G trial at Canary Wharf.
EE is set to launch its 5G services in on May 30th. 5G will initially be switched on in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester.
Glasgow, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leicester, Coventry, Bristol,Newcastle Liverpool, Leeds and Hull will get 5G services later.
From 2020 it will roll out in Aberdeen, Cambridge, Derby, Gloucester, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Worcester and Wolverhampton, with more towns to follow.
How do I get 5G?
In order to get 5G you’ll need a 5G-ready phone and SIM card.
The first batch of 5G phones includes the LG V50Q Thin, OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and Oppo Reno 5G.
How much will 5G cost?
Head of BT Consumer Marc Allera compared the cost to the introduction of 4G. “It was a few pounds more than 3G. I think for a faster better experience - which is what 5G will deliver - consumers will be willing to pay a little bit more. But it’s a few pounds more, not a significant incremental cost," he said.
EE prices start from £54 a month for 10GB data.
Will my 4G phone still work?
Yes! Don’t worry. Your 4G phone will still work and the BT Group is continuing to invest in it its 4G network.