EE 5G

EE will launch the UK’s first 5G network across six cities on 30 May, it has announced.

The mobile network operator said its 5G services will be available to its customers in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester, with plans to add another 10 cities by the end of the year.

Vodafone is set to launch its own 5G network in July.

Marc Allera, chief executive of BT’s consumer division, which owns EE, said: “This is the start of the UK’s 5G journey and great news for our customers that want and need the best connections.”

Customers who want to access the 5G network will require new phones, which start at £54 per month for 10GB of data, EE said.

EE admitted that a full 5G network will not be complete and accessible until 2022. The network will launch with download speeds of 150mbps compared with 50mbps when 4G launched.

EE also said that Huawei was among the companies to supply equipment to build the network, despite concerns over security issues. Earlier this week, Google revealed it would ban Huawei from the use of its Android operating system and apps after the US government added the company to a blacklist which prevents US companies from dealing with.

Mr Allera told the BBC that EE was removing Huawei technology from its 4G networks, but said it is currently using Huawei equipment.

He said: “There is no current government guidance to suggest we should not use Huawei, but if the guidance changes we will reconsider. That will be disruptive but there are other people that provide equipment.

“There is little interoperability between vendors, which means it is difficult to deploy non-Huawei 5G equipment alongside existing Huawei 4G equipment.

“A ban would require operators to replace such equipment before they could deploy 5G technology.”