O2 promised it'd have 20 places in the UK connected to 5G by the end of 2019, and it did -- just.
The network announced on the very last day of the year that it had turned on another 13 sites, taking the total to 20 plus the O2 headquarters. EE has them soundly beaten, though, with 50 sites switched on in the same timeframe.
O2's original 5G switch-on in October included London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Leeds and Slough, followed by Leicester and Lisburn, and they've now added Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle, Bradford, Sheffield, Coventry, Nottingham, Norwich, Bristol, Derby and Stoke to the list. If you're thinking that's 21, Slough doesn't really count because it's only at O2 headquarters.
The network says it won't charge you extra for 5G, although you do have to switch to a tariff that includes it – you don't get it by default (and of course you'll need a 5G handset, or the whole thing is moot).
Derek McManus, COO of Telefónica UK (which owns O2), comments:
"We were incredibly proud to switch on our 5G network in October, and it is brilliant to hit our target of 20 towns and cities connected to our next-generation network as we head into 2020.
Our range of tariffs make it easy and fair for customers to access 5G, with flexible plans that cost no more than 4G.
I believe 5G is going to revolutionise the way people and businesses use mobile connectivity, unlocking huge possibilities for our economy and society. We’re excited about getting it into the hands of our customers across the UK, and continuing to work with our partners to help shape the future of 5G for the next generation."
Working with partners Ericsson and Nokia, O2 now plans to get 5G to a total of 50 places by summer this year, and is apparently investing a whopping £2m a day in its network. The next UK spots on the list are Windsor, Eton, Reading, Blackpool, Bournemouth, and Guildford, with rollout to start before the end of March.