The race to 5G is hotting up, and O2 has nailed its colours to the (phone) mast by announcing that it will launch its 5G network in the UK this year.
The company has chosen "four corners of the UK" to kick off the high-speed rollout: Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London. In other words, a major city in each of the four component countries of the UK. Makes a change from just going "Eh, London will do" and calling it a day.
Those four cities will get O2 5G later this year, whereas everywhere else will have to wait 'til 2020. Realistically, most of us aren't going to have 5G phones this year anyway, so it's not a huge loss.
O2 will also be setting up 5G "innovation spaces" where businesses can come and try out 5G, test their products and run experiments to prepare for the big rollout.
Mark Evans, CEO of O2's parent company Telefónica UK, comments:
"O2’s 5G network will arrive this year and we want the next-generation of mobile services to launch with a bang. 5G will benefit customers from launch, with better speeds and improved customer experience.
Following the demand from our FTSE 100 trials, we are extending our testbed opportunities so that businesses of all sizes can work us to build the 5G Economy.
Mobile is one of the UK’s most powerful opportunities to strengthen our economy and improve the lives of British people and 5G is a significant milestone for this nation."
Crikey, is he running for PM?
5G will massively increase mobile data speeds, and 5G phones including Samsung's 5G version of the Galaxy S10 have already started to be announced, but it's not likely to go mainstream until next year when the handset cost comes down a bit.