50%+ of UK Population Has 5G Coverage According to Provider; Aims for 90% by 2028

EE initially launched 5G technology in London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Birmingham and Manchester

U.K. carrier EE announced its 5G network has already passed 50% population coverage in the country.

EE, which had launched its 5G network in May 2019, claimed to be the only mobile operator to pass this milestone in the U.K. EE also noted the achievement comes one year ahead of EE’s target and five years ahead of the government’s similar ambition.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez, said: “I am delighted to see EE has made good progress rolling out 5G to half of the country. The technology, which can be up to 20 times faster than 4G, will help us in our aims to level up our economy and unleash the potential of communities across the U.K.”

“We are working alongside industry to boost rural coverage through a £1 billion deal with mobile phone operators and are developing a new strategy to boost further investment in 5G and help operators rapidly expand their networks,” Lopez added.

Marc Allera, CEO Consumer Division, BT Group, said: “Today’s milestone is a huge achievement in our 5G journey. EE was the first network to launch 5G in the U.K. and now we’re the first mobile network operator to take the technology to 50% of the U.K. population. Our ambitions for 5G don’t stop here. We’ll continue to invest in our network to provide our customers with unrivalled connectivity.”

EE initially launched 5G technology in London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Birmingham and Manchester. Other large cities in which the telco offers 5G coverage includes Bristol, Covently, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Sunderland.

The U.K. carrier previously said it expected to reach half of the U.K. population with its 5G service by early 2023. The telco has also said that its 5G network will reach 90% of the country’s territory by 2028.

To reach this benchmark, EE used its 700 MHz 5G spectrum to offer indoor and wider rural coverage. EE secured 2×10 megahertz of paired frequency spectrum in the 700 MHz band at a cost of £280 million (currently $346.2 million); 20 megahertz of supplementary downlink spectrum in the 700 MHz band at a cost of £4 million; and 40 megahertz in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band for £168 million.

Last month, EE claimed to be the first European network to successfully aggregate a 5G signal using seven different spectrum carriers.

The experiment was performed in collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies at BT’s Borehamwood lab, and used five 4G spectrum bands and two 5G. The latter included the 3.6 GHz frequencies acquired in U.K.’s latest auction in 2021.

EE noted that the lab tests reached 5G data speeds of 2.2 Gbps in with expected real-world speeds of over 1.7 Gbps on the network. A mobile test device featuring the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform with Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF System was used to achieve the milestone, EE said.

Some researchers have suggested that 5G activation may be contributing to COVID-19 infections as well as hundreds of thousands if not millions of bird deaths. Of course, others say it’s not. Nevertheless, research has confirmed that there are health risks associated with 5G exposure as well as exposure to 4G and other sources of wireless Wi-Fi radiation (see 1, 2) and Electromagnetic Fields (aka “Electrosmog”).

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