You might find it challenging to navigate the ocean of information about 5G. You might be feeling a little confused as to whether to make the switch to 5G. So, here’s what you need to know about this latest mobile service.

There is nothing more frustrating than having a slow internet connection when you need it. It can make streaming a movie or downloading a programme torturous.

Mobile network providers are offering 5G to around one hundred UK towns and cities. They claim that the 5G mobile data service will significantly increase the speed of streaming and downloading music and movies. However, many people are not aware of what 5G is, where it is available, or how much it costs. So, in this article, we aim to answer these questions.

What is 5G Mobile Technology?

The name 5G is derived because this is the fifth generation of mobile phone technology offering mobile data, calls, and messages. Everything you send on your phone (voice, messages, photos, data) gets transformed into an electrical signal and transmitted through the mobile data network. When the signal arrives on the recipient’s phone, it is decoded from an electrical signal back into its original form of voice, data, photo, video, etc. This procedure was the same as with 5G’s predecessors, 4G and 3G, but 5G can do it a lot quicker.

What Is The Speed of 5G?

Network operators claim that 5G will offer mobile data and internet speeds of up to 500Mbps. This speed makes 5G up to ten times faster than its 4G predecessor, allowing web pages to load almost instantaneously, and UltraHD videos to download in a few minutes. 

There is also the suggestion that 5G signals are stronger than previous generations, making it less likely that you will lose communications due to high-density use. This claim has yet to put to the test, and it remains to be seen how it will hold up during use.

Who is Providing 5G?

All of the major network providers have launched their 5G service. EE was the first to launch, with the whole 5G roll-out schedule as follows:

  • EE – 30 May 2019.
  • Vodafone – 3 July 2019.
  • 3 – 19 August 2019.
  • BT – 11 October 2019.
  • O2 – 17 October 2019.
  • Sky – 16 January 2020.
  • Virgin Media – to be confirmed.
  • Tesco Mobile – to be confirmed.
  • Giff Gaff – to be confirmed.

Where is 5G Available in the UK?

There is currently limited availability of 5G across the UK, with it only being available in certain towns and cities. Some of the first to benefit where major UK cities, including:

  • Birmingham
  • Bristol
  • Cardiff
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Manchester
  • Liverpool
  • Leeds
  • London

All the leading network providers have made commitments to expand their 5G networks during 2020 and beyond.

Can I Access 5G When Abroad?

Vodafone offers access to its 5G network for customers travelling to Germany, Italy, or Spain through its roaming service. At present, this can be done with no additional cost. However, when Brexit is complete, there may be a charge for this facility.

Do I Have To Use A Smartphone To Access 5G?

5G does not support most older smartphone technology. So, if you want access to this new network, you’ll need to update your phone to one that is 5G compatible. 5G compatible phones include the following:

  • Huawei P40 Pro
  • iPhone 12
  • Oppo Find X2 Pro
  • OnePlus 8 Pro
  • Samsung Galaxy A90 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G

 Is 5G Linked to Coronavirus?

There have been many rumors circulating the internet about links between 5G and Coronavirus. These rumours are groundless, as viruses cannot be transmitted via electromagnetic waves. Both OFCOM and the WHO have stressed that there is no link between 5G and Coronavirus.

What is the Cost of 5G? 

Each provider is offering its 5G service in different forms. Here is a selection of what’s on offer:

  • BT. 5G is only being offered to BT’s Halo customers. This service costs £3 in addition to your monthly subscription plan, and it ensures that you have other ways to get online should your broadband connection fail. BT is not offering any SIM-only plans for its 5G service. So, you will need to buy a new 5G-compatible smartphone from them to gain access. BT 5G packages start from £45 per month.
  • EE. SIM-only plans are available from EE, and they start from £32/month for 20GB of data. Handset plans commence at £54/ for 10GB of data.
  • O2. O2 is another provider that offers a SIM-only 5G package, which starts at £20/month. Their handset plans kick-off at £40.48/month.
  • Sky. 5G offered at the same price as 4G, but customers must sign up for the free loyalty scheme, Sky VIP. Sky’s mobile data plans start from £6/month.
  • 3. 5G offered at the same price as 4G. 3’s mobile data plans start from £13/month.
  • Vodafone. 5G offered at the same price as 4G, but customers need to purchase a minimum of 5GB mobile data plan. Vodafone’s mobile data plans start from £15/month.

Is 5G Worth The Price?

Faster internet, download, and streaming speeds are something that everyone has been anticipating for some time. Hopefully, 5G will remove much of the frustration that comes with slow or disrupted connections.

Before you sign up for a new 5G contract, ensure that you check that there is coverage where you need it. You’ll be able to check this coverage on your network provider’s website.