5G is coming. We've all heard the announcements and headlines telling us UK networks are set to start launching their own 5G services in 2019 and 2020, but that's about all we know. There's no word on the speed of rollout, or when the smaller networks will start offering the next gen services. Fortunately Sky Mobile has just made sure it'll be able to offer 5G as soon as O2 does.
You may remember that the 4G rollout was a little slower with the virtual mobile operators, who rely on infrastructure from O2, EE, Vodafone, and Three. Even after 4G become commonplace and affordable some networks were only offering 3G services, and Sky mobile clearly doesn't want to risk being left behind. It's just extended its contract with O2 parent company Telefonica to include 5G, and that means it can start offering 5G contracts as soon as O2's network launches.
O2's been working quite hard on its 5G network, even if it's been a bit shirty about EE's decision to launch the UK's first proper 5G network next year. Work on turning the O2 Arena into a 5G testbed is well under way, ready for testing later on this year. It also successfully bid on a number of bits of 5G spectrum in the recent Ofcom auction, ready for a wider rollout in 2020.
Stephen van Rooyen, Sky CEO for UK and Ireland, said:
“This long-term deal furthers our strategic partnership with Telefónica UK, accelerates the growth of Sky Mobile and ensures our customers continue to enjoy great service including 5G connectivity.”
O2 CEO Mark Evans said:
“Our award-winning network and unwavering focus on the customer has helped us build a roster of successful partnerships.
"The extension of this agreement with Sky further optimises usage of our assets allowing us to continue to invest while helping Sky grow their mobile customer offer. We look forward to continuing this partnership and driving the mutual benefits it creates.”
There's still no word on the type of services or deals that will be available, but we're a bit early for that. We don't even have any 5G phones yet. [TechRadar]