What is 5G? Discover how it will transform the way we communicate and live

5G is available for Halo customers, find out more about this new technology, what it can do, and when you can get it.

Today, when you use a smartphone to connect to the internet out and about, you’ll typically use 4G. Now, 5G is here.

5G is the next generation of mobile technology and will change the way you use your phone, giving you a faster and more reliable connection even in the busiest places. If you are a Halo customer, you can join us for 5G. Keep reading to find out more.

What are the benefits of 5G?

5G (the fifth generation of mobile communication technology) has three main benefits: faster speeds, reliability and an instant connection.

With fast 5G speeds you can download box sets in seconds, video calls will be smooth with perfect quality and you can watch live sport on-the-go.

In crowded places, such as at music concerts and sports matches, the amount of people using the network means you can struggle to do things like upload pictures to Instagram and post tweets.  With 5G you won’t have that problem. It’s more reliable and allows greater capacity, which means more people can use it simultaneously, so you can easily share exciting moments.

With 5G you’ll also get an instant connection, so everyday tasks feel really fast. If you are a gamer, fast-response times will give you the edge and you’ll be able to stream live sport without delays, so you won’t miss that crucial goal.

How fast will 5G be?

5G has the potential to give customers 1Gbps speeds to their smartphones, and the average, everyday speeds for customers should lift by approximately 150Mbps. 

How does 5G work?

5G will work hand-in-hand with 4G: when you connect to 5G on BT, you’re actually connecting to both the 4G and 5G parts of the network at the same time

Our 4G network is hugely important and we’re still investing in increasing 4G capacity, and broadening 4G coverage to ensure every customer in the UK is getting the connection they need.

Graphic of 5G with city

Is 5G safe?

5G technology is highly regulated and we work within strict guidelines.

5G uses radio waves, these radio waves have been used for mobile and Wi-Fi networks for decades.  They have been tested and there is no evidence of harmful effects.

The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radio Protection (ICNIRP) publishes guidelines around safe exposure limits to radio waves including 5G, which BT strictly adheres to.

Radio waves are ‘non-ionizing’ which means they don’t have the energy to change the structure of a cell. In contrast, X-rays and gamma rays are ionizing, which is why there are lots of precautions when you for example, have an X-ray.

The UK Government also stated that: “While a small increase in overall exposure to radio waves is possible when 5G is added to the existing network, the overall exposure is expected to remain low and well within the ICNIRP guidelines."

We also have strict exclusion zones around our sites, so no-one can get too close. 

When is 5G coming to the UK?

We’ve been at the forefront of 5G development in the UK, in October 2018 we turned on the UK's first network trial in Canary Wharf.

5G on BT Mobile is available in 20 large towns and cities, including the busiest parts of: Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Coventry and Leicester.

Will 5G work on my phone?

To use 5G on our network, you need a 5G smartphone, so if you’ve got a 4G phone (which the majority of people currently have), you’ll need a new handset.

5G phones will be compatible with 4G, in fact you will use both of them. You’ll probably use 5G in busy areas and 4G at home, swapping seamlessly between the two.

Trio of hands holding phones with graphics

How do I get 5G?

In order to join us for 5G when it launches, you need to be a Halo customer. Halo is available with our superfast fibre broadband, it comes with lots of extra benefits, including double data and our fastest 4G. Find out more about Halo

Join us for 5G

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