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BT will be the first to launch UK 5G in 2019

Written by  May 16, 2018

BT has made a huge swathe of announcements about the future of its converged networks covering BT, EE and Plusnet. Within the announcements (which basically outline plans to use the best bits of each different service), is confirmation that BT will be the "first to market" with a 5G mobile offering.

This confirmation backs-up details that emerged in an earnings presentation in May, where BT chief executive Gavin Patterson is reported to have said "We will look to have a commercial 5G product launched in the next 18 months."

That date would see 5G launching in the UK in late-2019. While BT hasn't mentioned 2019 in its plans for its new converged Consumer Business Unit, it does outline that aims to "be first to market with 5G mobile to complement 4G."

From a consumer point of view, 5G promises faster everything: lower latency, faster speeds for things like lag-free streaming, with an aim to deliver greater network performance.

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BT reports in its 2017 annual report that 5G testing is underway and that's common across the industry. From 5G trials to hardware development, we've heard details about network provision for 5G - with EE bagging spectrum in the recent 5G frequency auction - as well as seen the details for the hardware to enable it in consumer devices.

Qualcomm, for example, previously announced its 5G X50 modem, and has confirmed its working with companies like HMD Global (Nokia), Sony Mobile, HTC, LG and others, all of which could have 5G devices on the market in 2019. There's even rumours that the Samsung Galaxy S10 will be 5G.

Exactly how BT will package the 5G services isn't clear, but we'd expect EE to lead the offering, building on its position as one of the fastest providers in the UK.

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