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BT-owned EE to launch commercial 5G services in 2019

BT-OWNED EE could launch commercial 5G services as early as next year, a year ahead of the government’s rollout plans

As reported by, er,, BT CEO Gavin Patterson told analysts last week that the firm plans to beat its rivals to the punch by launching 4G services in 2019. 

“We will look to have a commercial 5G product launched in the next 18 months,” he reportedly said during an earnings presentation.

As well as arriving ahead UK gov’s projected commercial rollout for 5G, the launch of a 5G network in 2019 would also beat the commercial launches planned by European operators including Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom, both who have committed to launching 5G services in 2020.

EE, which was also first to launch 4G services in 2012, will launch, already has a headstart on its rivals when it comes to spectrum. In this year’s spectrum auction, the firm maintained its lead after picking up 40MHz of 3.4GHz spectrum, adding to its existing 255Mhz.

However, O2 and Vodafone also bagged themselves plenty of 5G-ready spectrum. In fact, Vodafone snagged more than any other operator, scoring 50MHz of

3.5GHz spectrum at a cost of £378.254m, while O2 picked 20MHz for £151.2m. Although as-yet-unconfirmed by the operator, some reports claim that Vodafone is also looking to deploy 5G technology in the next year. 

Still, as notes, BT is perhaps better positioned for a rapid roll out 5G services after this year announced plans to conduct live trials of 5G New Radio (where the standards are finalised) and the joint development of core 5G network technology and customer premises equipment. µ



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