It feels like half a lifetime since networks started announcing their plans for 5G coverage, which three of the big four networks have decided isn't worth making people wait until next year. And today is the day the first one goes live, now that EE has launched its 5G network in a few important locations across the UK. Six places to be exact: Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester, and London.
Obviously if you live in one of those places (and checked the coverage map to be sure), and fancy yourself as an early-adopter, you might be interested in what the network has to offer. We've already heard about the various devices that are on sale, but how much are you going to have to pay to get your hands on one? Well we've done all the hard work for you, and picked through the four phones that are currently available, to see what's what.
Note: These are all 5G plans. EE will let you buy 5G-ready phones on a 4G contract, but we're ignoring those options because they're stupid.
All plans are 24 months long, have the option to upgrade anytime after the first 15 days, and come with unlimited calls and texts.
There are no SIM only plans available with 5G at the moment, and the store page only has 4G plans on offer. So don't go buying a 5G phone SIM free and picking up a SIM only plan just yet, because you won't be able to get anything special out of it.
LG V50 ThinQ
The cheapest V50 contract is going to set you back £69 a month, with £170 upfront. That gets you a measly 10GB of monthly data and two swappable perk for a total price of £1,846 over the course of your two years.
The privilege of paying less upfront is going to cost you, though, with the £74 a month deal getting you all the same perks with only £70 upfront. That will cost you £1,846 overall, so you're paying an extra £20 to avoid spending £100 at the start of the contract. Who knows, if you have a savings account with a decent interest rate that might be worth considering.
The priciest one is the £89 a month plan (with £10 upfront) that'll work out as £2,146 at the end of your two years. That has 120GB of monthly data and three swappable perks, but that's a lot to spend on a phone. Especially one that doesn't even bend.
In the middle we have two deals costing £79 (with £50 upfront) and £84 (with £30 upfront) each month - totalling £1,946 and £2,046 respectively. Both have two perks included and a respective 30GB and 60GB of monthly data.
OnePlus 7 Pro 5G
There are five 5G plans available for the OnePlus 7 Pro, the cheapest of which is £59 each month. But that comes with a £170 upfront fee, so you end up with a total of £1,586 over the course of 24 months. That gets you 10GB of monthly data and two of EE swappable perks.
Like the LG V50 you can save yourself £100 on the upfront cost if you're willing to pay an extra £20 overall on the £64 a month plan. It has the same allowances, but only has a £70 upfront charge - meaning you end up paying £1,606 overall. Paying more is bad, but you're not dropping quite as much money at once.
The most expensive deal has three swappable perks and 120GB of monthly data, costing £79 a month, with £10 upfront, totalling £1,906.
In the middle you have two more deals. There's the £69 a month deal (with £50 upfront) that'll cost you a total of £1,706. That gets you two perks and 30GB of monthly data. Then there's the £74 a month deal (with £30 upfront) that comes to a total of £1,806. That comes with two perks and 60GB of monthly data.
Oppo Reno 5G
The cheapest Oppo Reno plan is the £54 a month plan (with £170 upfront) will cost you a total of £1,466 for 10GB of data with two perks. Meanwhile the £59 a month plan (with £70 upfront) costs £1,486 for the same allowances. £20 more overall once again, so it's up to you which payment plan is more suited to your finances.
The most expensive is £1,786 in total, with payments of £74 a month and £10 upfront. Again that gets you 120GB of data with three perks.
In the middle we have the same deals as before. £64 a month (with £50 upfront) gets you 30GB of data plus two perks, and totals out at £1,586. £69 a month (with £30 upfront) gets you 60GB of data, plus two perks, and totals at £1,686.
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
And now we get to the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, the wordiest of all the 5G phones EE has available. Seriously, it's a right mouthful, couldn't they have called it the Galaxy 5G for the sake of convenience? Anyway, onto the deals.
For some reason the S10 has different upfront costs, so the cheapest plan is £69 with £130 upfront - unlike the £170 EE demands on the other three. That gets you the usual 10GB of data and two perks for a total of £1,686.
Up next is the £74 a month deal that knocks £100 off the upfront charge again. Same allowances as the £69 plan, but you only have to pay £30 upfront for a grand total of £1,806.
The most expensive plan is £89 a month for 120GB of data and three perks. That comes with a £10 upfront charge and means you'll be paying £2,146 overall. Exactly the same as the LG V50's priciest deal.
In the middle we have the £79 a month for 30GB data and £84 a month for 60GB data. Strangely these both only require a £10 upfront fee, and means you'll be paying £1,906 and £2,026, respectively. The lower upfront fee also means these S10 plans are cheaper than their LG equivalents, which is good for you but bad for LG.
Which One is Cheapest Overall?
If you want 5G for the lowest amount possible, and want to stick with EE, the cheapest option is the Oppo Reno 5G. It's not that surprising really, and it means you can get 5G for a total of £1,466. Sadly I can't make a comment about it being cheaper than an iPhone, because the most expensive iPhone XS is £1,449. Still it's not far off, and it's up to you to decide whether it means the Oppo is great value or if they're both grossly overpriced.
The S10 5G and LG V50 both share the title of 'most expensive phone', though that's only if you get the most expensive deal. The S10 is, shockingly, cheaper than the V50. For now anyway, and it could be Samsung gets to enjoy some special pre-order pricing. But I'm speculating there.
In any case I think the point is 5G is expensive, and is going to stay that way for a while. But hey, at least it's not as expensive as a foldable phone!