Mobile network O2 has become the latest provider to launch its 5G network, with the service going live from today (October 17th) in six cities around the UK.
Initially, the service will be available in all four of the UK’s capitals – Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London – in addition to Leeds and Slough. However, the provider aims to reach a total of 20 UK locations by the end of the year and 50 by the summer of 2020.
O2 is focusing its early efforts on busy locations where the extra capacity of 5G will be most beneficial. This includes high-footfall areas like Waterloo and King’s Cross railway stations, Leeds’ Trinity Shopping Centre and the Twickenham and Emirates stadiums in London.
Mark Evans, chief executive of O2’s parent firm Telefonica UK, said the launch marks a significant moment for the company and its customers, with the firm looking to make it easy for users to upgrade to the technology by offering a range of tariffs at no extra cost compared to 4G.
He added: “I believe O2 5G is going to revolutionise the way people and businesses use mobile connectivity, unlocking huge possibilities for our economy and society. No one in the country has all the answers today, but I’m excited about getting it into the hands of our customers and working with leading partners to help shape the future of 5G for the next generation.”
Currently, O2 customers will be able to access these services with a choice of four 5G-enabled handsets. These are the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G, Samsung Galaxy A90 5G, and the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G.
While Apple users may be disappointed, as the US brand has yet to announce any 5G-ready smartphone, O2 will give customers who purchase one of the three new iPhone 11 devices on certain tariffs the opportunity to claim £100 off the cost of their next device when they upgrade to a potential new Apple 5G smartphone device in 2020.
O2 has also launched a range of business-focused tariffs and is undertaking a series of partnerships with enterprises to explore innovative options for 5G, from manufacturing and utilities firms to broadcasters.