The United Kingdom has joined the fray with the launch of its 5G network, the next generation of ultra-fast wireless connections.
EE, the UK’s largest mobile carrier, launched 5G wireless Thursday in select areas of London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Birmingham and Manchester. EE customers in the UK can access the network using new smartphones from Samsung, OnePlus, LG and Oppo.
5G technology has been touted as a major breakthrough allowing for better video streaming and more technical advancements. In April, the United States and South Korea became the first countries to offer 5G phones that could access limited 5G networks. Verizon customers were the first to access the US network, using Samsung’s Galaxy 5G.
Although 5G innovation is already underway in parts of the U.S., UK and South Korea, a network still isn’t widely available yet to benefit the majority of wireless customers.
The transition from 4G to 5G networks won’t be that widespread until about 2020 because it involves infrastructure upgrades that cost billions of dollars.
EE plans to launch its 5G network across 20 additional cities in the UK by the end of 2020.