Weeks after announcing a series of unexpected new charges for customers, BT has just flipped the switch on its 5G mobile network in more places taking its coverage from six cities to a whopping 50. Along with huge coverage upgrade there’s more good news as this 5G update now allows all customers to access faster speeds rather than just those who are signed up to Halo packages.
It’s a massive roll-out and should bring the next-generation network to thousands of extra customers.
Since BT owns EE, which was the first mobile carrier to launch a 5G network, customers who opt for 5G through BT will be running on the existing EE infrastructure. That means you can expect to see the same speeds. According to EE, most 5G customers can expect to see speeds of around 100-150Mbps more than on 4G, which typically hover around 130-240Mbps.
That said, peak speeds can comfortably exceed 1Gbps on the mobile network. Given that the average home broadband speed in the UK is 54.2Mbps, that’s a pretty phenomenal achievement.
Unfortunately, those futuristic speeds don’t come cheap. First up, you won’t be able to use your existing 4G handset on the new network, you’ll need to own a 5G compatible smartphone to be able to take advantage of those impressive new speeds. There are a few choices around on the market right now but, as you might expect, none of them are what we’d call “budget” options.
If you’re looking for the latest and greatest mobile speeds, you’ll have to cough-up for the latest and greatest hardware too.
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Of course, buying a 5G-compatible phone is a good way of future-proofing yourself. After all, Vodafone, Three, O2, EE and BT have all announced 5G plans, so there’s plenty of choice of carriers if you’d like to keep your smartphone but switch to another mobile network in the future.
If you’d like to upgrade, you’ll need to fork out at least £57 a month to get a 5G contract with BT – unless you’re already paying for BT broadband, which drops the monthly price to £45.
BT started a limited 5G roll-out late last year, although as we mentioned earlier this was only for BT Halo customers in six cities. This time around, it’s launching 5G in a whopping 50 towns and cities across the UK. For comparison, Vodafone currently operates its 5G network in 40 locations in the UK (although it does have 68 locations in the EU available to its customers when they travel), O2 has 21 and Three only operates 5G in London at the time of writing.
BT 5G will be available in the following cities and towns ~
London • Edinburgh • Birmingham • Belfast • Manchester • Cardiff • Bristol • Coventry • Lichfield • Leicester • Liverpool • Lisburn • Glasgow • Hull • Leeds • Newcastle • Nottingham • Salford • Sheffield • Sunderland • Wakefield • Wolverhampton • Ashton-under-Lyne • Castlereagh • Chatham • Clifton • Dudley • Gillingham • Grays • Guildford • Hamilton • Harlow • Hoddesdon • Huddersfield • Kimberley • Kingston-upon-Thames • Maidstone • Milnrow • Northampton • Oldham • Bar • Rochdale • Romford • Solihull • Stevenage • Sutton Coldfield • Sydenham • Walsall • Watford • West Bromwich