O2 has announced the cities that will become the first in the UK to receive its 5G network at launch later this year, with all four home nation capitals to be the first to enjoy the benefits of this technology.
London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast will kick-start the company's 5G services in 2019, with the communications provider expecting to roll out the service to other cities in 2020 to coincide with the wider availability of 5G-capable smartphones.
Chief executive of O2 parent company Telefonica UK Mark Evans said 5G promises "so much more" for the UK's mobile network, with consumers, businesses and public services all set to enjoy transformative benefits thanks to the faster, higher-capacity network.
"O2's 5G network will arrive this year and we want the next-generation of mobile services to launch with a bang," he added. "5G will benefit customers from launch, with better speeds and improved customer experience."
The company is also set to create a series of innovation spaces across the UK, including in its Wayra accelerator hubs, which will offer test environments that businesses of all sizes will be able to use to experience what 5G has to offer.
This will help firms develop new innovations that will provide an important boost to the UK in a post-brexit environment.
Mr Evans said: "Mobile is one of the UK’s most powerful opportunities to strengthen our economy and improve the lives of British people and 5G is a significant milestone for this nation."
O2 also revealed that its invitation to FTSE 100 companies last year, which encouraged them to participate in trials to help identify potential use cases for 5G, has seen positive results.
It said the applications to come out of this are anticipated to bring substantial business benefits by delivering efficiency savings, while also having the potential to unlock new 5G-enabled revenue streams.