EE plans first UK 5G trial network to take place across 10 sites in east London in October


The capital will get the first bumper trial of 5G this autumn, EE has announced today.

In March, mobile companies submitted their first bids as part of the 5G spectrum auction, with regulator Ofcom starting the process of selling packages which will allow mobile providers to roll out 5G plans in the next couple of years.

Hutchison 3G, Telefonica, EE and Vodafone were the successful bidders in Ofcom’s 4G and 5G airwave spectrum auction it was confirmed in April, with only Airspan Spectrum Holdings coming away empty handed.

But before any big launch can get underway, the companies involved need to test them out, hence the planned trials.

O2 has already said it will turn the O2 arena in North Greenwich into a 5G test spot in the second half of the year, but EE said today east London will be the first place in the UK to get a trial of 5G in October.

The trial will see 5G switched on at 10 sites around east London in areas including City Road, Old Street, Hoxton Square, St Paul’s and Chiswell Street.

EE said it will also kick off a search for five small businesses and five homes to get the chance to be involved in the launch to test the new technology.

The plan is for the trial to demonstrate how 5G can provide the highest speed mobile data connections, even in the most densely populated urban spaces.

Longer term, EE said it foresees 5G delivering more reliable internet connections and enabling greater take-up of tech like virtual reality and augmented reality in apps and services.

Marc Allera, chief executive of EE parent BT’s consumer business, said:

This live trial is a big step forward in making the benefits of 5G a reality for our customers, and in making sure that the UK is at the front of the pack for 5G technology.

We’re focusing our resource and experience across EE and BT to ensure that we continue to lead the UK market with a mobile network that keeps giving our customers the best speeds and the best coverage.

5G is a fundamental part of our work to build a converged, smart network that keeps our customers connected to the things that matter most.