After three of the four major telecom carriers in the UK has already rolled out their own 5G networks which is available in a somewhat limited capacity, it was only O2 remaining to announce it. Well, according to the latest update, O2 will roll out its 5G switch-on this October, although the specific date remains a mystery at this moment.
In the UK, Vodafone became the first carrier to bring 5G rollout plans to seven cities and soon EE rolled out its plan and effectively beat Vodafone in market share. Three was ironically third in the series revealing its 5G plans and home broadband router and that left O2 has the sole major carrier without any 5G commitment but not for too long.
O2 states that it will roll out its 5G network in key hubs of six cities that are Leeds, Slough, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast. The carrier is awarded the title of Britain’s best network for coverage. It will be using the network usage data to prioritize 5G in the areas of greatest demand where people would need it instead of just randomly placing its base stations to broadcast 5G signals.
Since 5G range is very low and in fact, it wouldn’t last much longer than a block and would need a blanket of base stations in every block to cover even a part of the city which is a huge undertaking. Other carriers have a patchy network as well as limited to certain centers and key places of the cities they have rolled out their 5G services. O2 will use its insight and data obtained from users in the country to roll out intelligence-led strategy. It claims that the next-generation network (5G) will improve the reliability and capacity in key locations allowing users to access high-speed internet even during peak hours which includes places like sports venues, business areas, train stations, etc.
Moving further, O2 plans to unleash its 5G rollout plan in three phases i.e. the first phase will have six cities under its radar. The second phase is expected to complete by the end of this year covering almost 20 towns and cities while the third phase will complete 50 towns and cities in the UK by the summer of 2020.
If you don’t have a 5G-enabled smartphone yet, don’t worry because O2 will start selling Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G and Samsung Galaxy S10 5G as early as next month. For those with iPhones, they will have to wait to upgrade to the next-gen 5G network since Apple is expected to launch 5G iPhones only in 2020 if not early.