5G Home Broadband Will Be Twice As Fast, Half The Cost, Says Report

By Holly Brockwell on at

A new report from consulting company Ovum says 5G tech will double our home broadband speeds and save us all £240 a year.

Ovum says 5G home broadband should give us between 80 and 100 Mbps (or "meg" if you write broadband adverts and don't want to scare people with things like units of measurement that can actually be compared), meaning we won't have to faff around waiting for BT to come and install a phone line for regular broadband, or a fibre provider to remember places like Scotland exist.

Ovum says that speed is around double what most people are getting from their current home broadband connections, meaning we're all getting 40-50 Mbps, which seems surprising. Promised speed, maybe. Actual speed? We doubt it.

5G home broadband will definitely give us more flexibility, though: like the SIM card in your phone, you should be able to get low-commitment contracts that you can chop and change without signing up for two years when you're in a six-month flatshare. And it's plug-and-play, so no more using internet cafés and libraries like a weirdo when you've just moved house, or drilling into your walls to sort the cables out.

Ovum thinks these benefits will ensure 5G replaces 85% of our fixed home broadband connections, and since it's about half the price of fibre (for providers... we perhaps shouldn't assume that'll translate to 50% for us). That should make higher speeds available to more people: currently only 3% of broadband subscriptions are fibre, apparently.

However, there is one major caveat here, and that's that the report was commissioned by Three, who are not at all impartial when it comes to 5G. It's pretty apparent that this study is exactly what they wanted from Chief Exec Dave Dyson's comment in the press release:

"5G gives our customers the opportunity to bin their fixed line, enjoy faster speeds and save money. Wireless home broadband means that we can speed up access to super-fast internet services at a lower cost, without installation delays or inflexible contracts. [...]

At Three, we’re making significant investments to make this technology viable as we ready our network for 5G. Government and Ofcom have the right ambition to improve UK connectivity and we will work with them to show that there are other alternatives to fibre."

Which is shortly followed by the news that Three will be launching 5G home broadband in late 2019.

Still, everything we've heard about 5G so far from everyone except that guy who thinks it'll fry his brain has been pretty positive. So this report probably isn't far off, it's just worth remembering who bankrolled it.