ach5

When Is 5G Coming to the UK? (Updated for ) 2021

ach5

The United Kingdom is one of many countries with 5G access. Depending on the provider, UK mobile subscribers can get 5G right now in major areas.

5G is a huge advancement over 4G when it comes to speed and latency, which is why it will improve so many areas of our lives, like vehicle communication, smart cities, mobile communication, VR and AR, etc.

Several companies have already launched 5G in the UK, but not in every city. Providers are rolling out the new network in the United Kingdom throughout 2021.

5G Challenges: Why It Isn't Rolling Out Faster

EE

Europe's largest 4G provider, and the UK's biggest network operator, might soon become its biggest 5G provider. EE currently has 5G live in the UK in 160 places.

They provide 5G to their customers through various 5G phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G and S20+ 5G, OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, Galaxy Fold 5G, the Samsung Note 10+ 5G, OPPO Reno 5G, LG V50 ThinQ, and others.

The 5G plans from EE start from 10 GB for £54 /month ($68 USD) and extend up to 120 GB for £74 /month ($94 USD).

EE's 5G Wi-Fi service can be used with the HTC 5G Hub for an upfront cost of £100 ($127 USD). Included is either 50 GB of data per month for £50 per month ($63 USD) or £75 per month ($95 USD) with 100 GB of data allowance every month.

O2

Another company with 5G in the UK is O2. On October 17, 2019, the UK's second-largest telecom provider rolled out 5G in a handful of cities as part of their plan to reach 20 cities before 2020.

5G service has continued to roll out and has now reached over 160 cities, including Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Slough, Leeds, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle, Bradford, Sheffield, Coventry, and other locations. Check current coverage here.

The company offers unlimited data on their 5G plans, and several 5G devices.

The network is also used by Tesco Mobile. They began offering 5G in March 2020 in parts of several cities. See their compatible phones and coverage area here.

Vodafone

More proof that UK is pushing hard towards 5G is the fact that Vodafone UK, the country's third-largest mobile telecom, is also actively deploying the fifth-generation wireless network.

Vodafone 5G originally launched in just a handful of locations on July 3, 2019, but have since expanded to include 100 locations in the UK, including the following:

BirkenheadBirminghamBristolBoltonCardiffGatwickGlasgowManchesterLancasterLiverpoolLondonNewburyPlymouthStoke-on-TrentWolverhampton

In 2017, Vodafone UK tested 5G in car-to-car communications; they made UK's first 5G holographic phone call in 2018; in October 2018, switched on a 5G trial in Salford, Greater Manchester; in December of 2018, began installing antennae under manhole covers to pave the way for 5G; and in February 2019, connected Manchester Airport to their 5G network.

According to the company, 5G pricing is the same as using a 4G network. At least four 5G smartphones will be usable on Vodafone's 5G network, and a 5G home router (see available ones here).

Virgin Media

Through its MVNO partnership with Vodafone, Virgin Media also offers 5G services in the UK. The network went live on January 25, 2021, in 100 locations.

With average speeds of 176.62Mbps, which is around 4.5 times faster than its average 4G speeds, Virgin Media's 5G service is available to customers on a range of fast and flexible plans, including SIM Only and Pay Monthly, at no extra cost.

Three UK

Three UK subscribers who want 5G at home can subscribe to their 5G broadband plan, which provides unlimited data on a 12-month contract for £30 per month. Installation is performed via a plug-and-play hub. Availability is currently limited to customers in certain parts of London.

Customers can also look forward to mobile 5G with several Three UK 5G phones, including Samsung Galaxy S20, Samsung Galaxy Note10+, Samsung Galaxy A90 5G, Huawei Mate 20 X 5G, and others.

Three's mobile 5G service is available in dozens of locations.

BT

UK 5G access is also available for BT customers. Dozens of towns and cities have access, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool, Hull, Sunderland, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, and Coventry.

Other 5G coverage areas include London's Waterloo and Euston stations, Cardiff Central station, Glasgow's Bath Street and St Enoch Square, Belfast's Kingspan Stadium, and Coventry's Council House and Cathedral ruins.

See BT's 5G coverage map for a visual look at where you can get 5G in the UK.

The BT Mobile 5G phones and plans page has more information on how you can access the network. There are four 5G plans to pick from: 6 GB, 45 GB, 90 GB, or 100 GB. BT Halo customers get double the data on any of those plans, with the 100 GB one boosted to unlimited 5G data.

Sky Mobile

Sky Mobile has launched 5G in the UK in parts of 50 cities, including Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Slough, Leeds, Leicester, Lisburn, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle, Bradford, Sheffield, Coventry, Nottingham, Norwich, Bristol, Derby, and Stoke.

See all locations in their coverage map.

Sky VIP members can get 5G free forever. Otherwise, it's £5 /month.

HMD Global

HMD Global has formed an MVNO to launch 5G in late April 2021. It's unclear yet which major provider they've partnered with; this will determine where the service will be available.

Trials at 5G Innovation Center

Beyond the companies mentioned above that are actively testing and rolling out 5G networks, is the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) at the University of Surrey in Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom.

5GIC is a testbed where researchers and partners can test and develop, in a real-world environment, any tech that could run on the next-gen wireless network. Their goal is to test 5G both inside and outside, in urban and rural locations where coverage might be difficult, and places where there isn't already a mobile network set up.

CityFibre and Arqiva announced in December 2018, details about the country's largest 5G small cell pilot trial in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. The companies created a 15 km high-density fibre network which provides the bandwidth for mobile network operators to explore 5G.