Now that networks have purchased their first allotments of 5G spectrum, things are gearing up for the launch of the network proper sometime before the end of 2020. But before the networks can launch 5G services, they have to test them out. So the 5G trials are coming, and following on from O2's promise to turn the O2 arena into a 5G test hub sometime in the next 6-7 months, EE has announced its own trial will start in October.
EE claims it will be the first 5G trial in the UK, but since we don't actually know when O2's trial is going to be ready there's no way of actually confirming that right now. For the record, O2 started building it's network inside the arena back in March.
But EE's trial is a big deal, since it will be making 5G broadband services available at 10 locations within London's Tech City area. Those locations will be split between five businesses and five homes, with the search for the participants taking place over the next several weeks. The goal, according to EE, is to test the capability 5G has to offer a high speed connection, even in densely populated areas like Central London.
Minister for Digital, Margot James, said:
"We want the UK to be a global leader in 5G as part of our ambition to create a world-leading digital economy that works for everyone. Together with the Government's own test beds and trials programme, industry initiatives like this will help deliver the benefits of this new revolutionary technology to businesses and consumers across the UK."
Marc Allera, CEO of 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.”
EE has already committed to launching the first commercial 5G services next year, ahead of its three biggest competitors, and has dismissed any notion that the early service will be anything but proper 5G.