UK mobile network O2 has confirmed which cities will be the first to experience 5G, when the network launches 5G in the UK before the end of 2019.
The carrier says the UK’s four capital cities – London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff – will be first in line for next-generation speeds, provided users have a 5G-compatible handset. The company says availability will spread to other parts of the UK as more 5G devices come to the market.
O2’s announcement follows indications from rivals EE and Vodafone that the initial 5G rollouts will commence in the coming months. In November last year, Three Mobile also confirmed a £2 billion investment in the new infrastructure with a 2019 rollout planned.
Telefonica UK (O2’s parent company) CEO Mark Evans says: “O2’s 5G network will arrive this year and we want the next-generation of mobile services to launch with a bang. 5G will benefit customers from launch, with better speeds and improved customer experience.”
O2 is yet to mention how much consumers can expect to pay for the new speeds, but it appears the launch will be business focused initially. The company says it is building a 5G Economy with British businesses, with new 5G innovation spaces being created across the UK.
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In a press release on Thursday, it wrote: “The spaces will provide next generation 5G test environments accessible to business of all sizes alongside national launch to help fuel future innovation that will boost the British economy post-Brexit.”
The announcement comes after Samsung announced the first mainstream 5G-ready handset, with a special version of the Galaxy S10 with 5G capabilities. While many US networks have committed to carrying the handset, UK networks are yet to reveal their hand.
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