UK 5G a year on – What’s changed?

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Summer 2019 saw the release of UK 5G, a year on, what’s changed? There are hundreds of amazing updates and upgrades with 5G, all appearing over the last 12 months. Find out just how much you can enjoy faster speeds and how much they’ve improved!


The Start of UK 5G

We didn’t actually see 5G begin to roll out until the end of May 2019. EE was the first network to roll out, closely followed by Vodafone. This brought much faster speeds to compatible device users, even in built up areas. Of course, it wasn’t, and still isn’t, available in every corner of the UK. Originally, 5G was only available in 6 different cities, being London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester. This allowed the busier places to test out the new connectivity and fix any bugs that may be present.

In early July, Vodafone followed with their roll out of 5G in a few more major cities, promising to add a further 12 cities by the end of 5G. One thing that really pushed Vodafone’s 5G deals up compared to other networks was the promise to also deliver 5G in Germany, Italy and Spain by the summer. When Vodafone turned on their 5G network, the first places to enjoy it were Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London. Again, rolling out over larger, more populated places would make sure that UK 5G was sitting at a high standard.

Of course, to match the rollout of 5G, the UK needed a choice of 5G competitive smartphones. EE worked with a range of different phone manufacturers, including Samsung and Oppo, to give customers a small range of devices. The first few phones to be available in the UK were the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Oppo Reno 5G, Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G and LG V50 5G. Each of these handsets has larger screens, fastest speeds and better processors to make sure you could enjoy 5G to it’s best.


Where’s 5G now?

5G has come a huge way since it was first released. You’re able to find a much wider range of compatible devices, available areas and more networks offering it. If you’re looking to join EE with a 5G compatible offer, it’s now available in 80 different cities and towns. Whilst this isn’t the entire UK, EE are working on building more 5G masts to make the connectivity available all over the place. 5G is now available in more places with higher footfall, such as tourist spots and train stations. Some prime examples of this are Piccadilly Circus, Albert Square and Bristol Parkway.

Although Vodafone switched on their 5G after EE, they offer 5G deals in more places. With 114 destinations across the UK and Europe, you can expect high speeds in a huge range of places. Currently, Vodafone is the only network to offer 5G in EU locations with 70 places across Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland available. This does mean that there are only 44 locations available in the UK with Vodafone, being one of the lowest however, they do continue to rapidly grow. With 5G ready plans, your compatible device will automatically connect between 4G and 5G when necessary.

You aren’t able to only get 5G on EE and Vodafone now. If you would prefer, 5G is also available in 66 destinations on Three and 30 locations with O2. Three didn’t launch 5G until February 2020 however, have massively expanded in a short amount of time. O2 launched in October 2019 with 12 different handsets available upon launch, being the widest selection in the UK. Currently, your best networks for 5G are Three, Vodafone and EE, that’s where you’re going to get the value.


Compatible Devices

The UK 5G compatible device list was incredibly small when it was first rolled out. With only 5 different devices available, all with extremely high price tags, the market was very small. With the growth of 5G across the UK, we’ve seen a huge increase in compatible devices, each giving a much larger market the chance to move over. Across the compatible devices, you’ll find devices from tech giants, Samsung and Huawei. Apple are yet to release a 5G device however, this is expected later this year. There are then compatible devices from the likes of Sony, Oppo and Xiaomi.

If you’re trying to do 5G on a budget, there are a few options for you. One of the best priced 5G handsets from 2020 is the Huawei P40. This is Huawei’s latest release and comes in at an amazing price when paired with cashback. Another huge Huawei release that comes with an exceptional price is the Huawei P40 Lite 5G. This is a budget smartphone with access to the fastest speeds available as well as an outstanding camera system. If you do want to go for something a little less known, the Oppo Reno 5G has a very similar price tag, offering the latest technology.

Should you have the budget to splash, there are some incredibly high spec 5G devices available right now. If you haven’t already heard, Samsung released the new S20 range, with 3 5G handsets. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is the highest specification phone of the bunch and it doesn’t disappoint. With a huge camera system, outstanding battery and ridiculous components under the hood, this really is the best of the best.


Ongoing Expectations

Whilst networks are keeping very quiet about what we can expect from the UK 5G world in the future, we’re sure we can expect new destinations from them all very soon. It would be extremely surprising if they were to leave 5G where it was however, once the world has recovered from coronavirus, they’re bound to start working on 5G destinations again.

As well as new destinations, it’s highly likely that we could also expect a few new 5G phones too. Rumours surrounding the iPhone 12 and Note 20 all suggest they may be 5G compatible. This would allow a huge market of customers to move over from 4G and experience the very best.


You can find some amazing UK 5G deals on a huge range of compatible handsets, and the options are just continuing to grow! Jump on the 5G bandwagon now.