Everything You Need To Know About 5G

06 Jun 2019

First there was 3G, then there was 4G. Now, 5G has launched in the UK. Networks promise to deliver super-fast and reliable mobile Internet connections, kicking off with EE which launched 5G on May 30th. When can customers in the UK expect to see a 5G rollout on other networks and what benefits will it offer?

Lightning fast speeds

5G is promising to deliver impressive results with speeds that will be faster than anything users have experienced before. Utilising innovative research alongside cutting-edge network technology, 5G is expected to deliver speeds that are ten times faster than 4G. Some broadband speeds will even look slow compared to 5G. 

Average download speeds with 5G are expected to be around 1GBps, with EE leading the way. However, some estimates put potential download speeds as high as 10GBps. This would make it 1,000 times faster than 4G, which currently offers download speeds of 100Mbps. Ofcom have predicted typical 5G speeds to be between 10 and 50GBps. Meanwhile, at the 5G Innovation Centre, test environments have returned staggering speeds of 1 terabit per second, which is around 65,000 times faster than average 4G. Although this is unlikely to be able to be replicated in a real-world environment, it does showcase the incredible potential of 5G.

Increased capacity 

5G also offers significantly increased capacity for mobile networks. Current 4G networks are only capable of supporting a certain number of connected devices. That’s why customers might experience data connectivity issues whilst at a festival or at a large sporting event, for example. 

With 5G, this will be a thing of the past. According to the International Telecommunications Union, 5G networks will have the capacity to support up to a million different connected devices for every square kilometre. This would mean that customers will enjoy a smooth user experience, with faster downloads and device communication plus no interruptions to their service regardless of crowd size.

5G coverage image

Benefits beyond smartphones

Mobile phones will benefit immensely from 5G, but they aren’t the only tech to be affected. The ability to carry large amounts of data so quickly will open the door for new tech. 5G will facilitate the necessary communication for self-driving cars, support the rise of smart city solutions and even improve user experience for everything connected to the mobile network, from connected home security systems to online gaming.

When will 5G be available?

EE has launched 5G in the UK though it’s currently limited to the busiest areas of Birmingham, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, London and Manchester, while many others will join later in the year.

Vodafone will make 5G available to its customers from July 3rd, with O2 and Three looking to launch sometime this year though no date has been set yet.

How much will 5G cost?

Customers will be paying more for 5G with EE charging £5 more per month than 4G for 24 months contracts and 12 months sim-only deals. Vodafone won’t be charging their customers more but currently there are no sim-only deals available with the provider.

Will my phone work with 5G?

Only phones with a 5G modem will have the capacity to access the network and only newer, top-of-the-line releases have this. Look for models like the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G, LG’s V50, Oppo Reno 5G and a few others. Apple currently doesn’t have any iPhones with 5G capacity though rumours say that a launch is planned for the second half of 2020.

5G is still in its infancy and the limited range of devices enabled for the new network mean that now might not be the best time to embrace it. Still, if you’re an early adopter and keen to get your hand on a top-of-the-range device then looking for one that’s 5G-enabled can help you to prepare for the eventual country-wide rollout. Apple devotees will have to wait until much later to take advantage of the new network speeds.

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