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Aug 13, 2019,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

UK: 5G available in London and in major cities

Mobile users in several big cities in the UK will soon have access to the 5G network thanks to offers from two major providers. In return for purchasing a new compatible smartphone, they will theoretically be able to benefit from performance beyond anything that has previously been achieved with ultra-fast download speeds. Plenty of geographical areas however are still without access to this new technology.


Two mobile telephony providers are already offering connections to the 5G network in the UK. EE, who are currently the market leader in Britain, launched their offer in May, while the Vodafone 5G package has just become available. While the high-potential technology is now accessible, it is not yet available to all to all smartphone users, as explained by a report in French daily "Le Parisien".


New telephones required


Surprisingly, it is not a purely financial obstacle that users are facing, with the report citing the example of a customer who has signed up for 5G and 100 gigabytes of data for 24 pounds sterling per month. They did, however, have to purchase a new smartphone that was compatible with the fifth generation of mobile telephone network, and then insert the SIM card from the provider. Acquiring those two elements took the monthly budget up to £70 – £80.

The very patchy 5G coverage across the British Isles is likely to prove a greater hurdle to the development of the technology. The EE offer only works in five agglomerations in the country, while the Vodafone package can be activated in seven major cities: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London.


Inconsistent geographic coverage


Elsewhere, deployment of the network has not yet begun or has barely started, and even in the big centres of population where 5G is officially available, the reality often paints a different picture. In London for example, the connection available around Oxford Street is excellent and provides download speeds that can be ten times quicker than average, giving users the opportunity to download files in double-quick time, communicate between smart objects and watch very smooth videos. In other areas of the capital such as Camden, it is impossible to connect to the new network.


Concerns over Huawei


UK authorities have announced that there will be countrywide coverage by 2022, but another factor is causing doubts among users looking to move over to the 5G network, namely the involvement of Chinese giants Huawei in the implementation of the technology across the UK. Many are questioning the levels of data protection and the serious threat of potential leaks to China, while others are worried that the relationship will break down between the tech company and the government.


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