EE has set out plans to become the first mobile operator to offer 5G services in the UK, with a launch date of 30 May 2019.
The BT-owned operator’s network will go live in London’s Hyde Park, the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff, Belfast City Airport, Edinburgh Waverly station, Birmingham’s Bullring and the Manchester Arena, more than a month before Vodafone plans to launch its 5G service.
EE plans to roll out the network in a number of other cities, including Bristol, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool and Newcastle, later in the year, but has not yet set firm dates.
Many in the tech industry have spoken about the opportunities 5G presents to a range of sectors, from manufacturing to motoring. But EE cautioned that “when 5G does arrive in your area, it might initially be quite limited in what you can do with it”.
“While there’s lot of talk of connected cars, smart cities and the like, EE’s – and indeed most networks’ – first priority will likely be mobile broadband,” the company said in a blogpost.
Cyber security has also dominated discussions about the next generation networking technology, which promises to offer download speeds of up to one gigabit per second.
EE has removed Huawei’s devices from its 5G launch line-up amid continued uncertainty over whether key suppliers would be able to carry on selling products to the Chinese firm following a crackdown by the US government.
Mark Allera, BT’s consumer chief, told the Guardian: “We’ve put the Huawei devices on pause, until we have more information. Until we have the information and confidence that ensures our customers will get support for the lifetime of their devices with us then we’ve got the Huawei devices on pause.”