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5G is now live in the UK — is it worth upgrading your phone?

EE has launched its new 5G mobile network in a number of UK cities. But at this early stage, would it actually be worth upgrading to a 5G smartphone?

5G is the next generation of mobile internet networking tech. It promises more reliable connection in busy places, much speedier downloading, and faster connection speeds. On May 30, EE launches the UK’s first such mobile network in the following cities: Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh, London.

To accompany the network rollout, EE also lifted the curtain on a range of four new 5G smartphones, listed below:

Foe a full look at all these phones and what they offer, check out our guide to all the EE 5G phones.

This has left many customers wondering: Is it worth upgrading to a new smartphone to take advantage of 5G? The answer is, probably not (yet).

Related: Best 5G Phones

Firstly, there is limited coverage even in the cities that EE has launched 5G in. The network has focused coverage on busy spots in the cities (for instance, Hyde Park in London and, the Manchester Arena and the Birmingham Bullring), but there isn’t yet full coverage across these selected cities (let alone across the country). However, this is set to improve as the year goes on — EE plans to rapidly expand their network to cover ten further UK cities by the end of 2019, including Glasgow, Liverpool, and Leeds. So it’s probably worth biding your time for now, especially if you’re a frequent traveller.

Secondly, phones & contracts are currently quite expensive. Take this example from EE: the Samsung Galaxy S10 is available with 60GB 4G mobile data for £49 per month, while the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is available with 30GB 5G mobile data for £79 per month. Other networks are due to launch 5G networks soon (Vodafone has a July 3 launch scheduled), and we expect fierce competition to push down these sky-high prices.

Thirdly, the design of 5G phones still leaves much to be desired. So far most of the handsets we’ve seen are enormous, like the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G with its 7.2-inch screen, in order to house the demanding power necessary for 5G connectivity. We expect that technological innovation over the coming months and years should see 5G smartphones return to more manageable sizes.

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