U.K. carrier EE will be launching 5G services imminently, its parent company BT said in a financial release.
BT said EE is on track to launch 5G technology in 16 cities across the U.K. with a range of device partners.
“Our aim is to deliver the best converged network and be the leader in fixed ultrafast and mobile 5G networks. We are increasingly confident in the environment for investment in the UK. We have already announced the first 16 U.K. cities for 5G investment,” said BT’s CEO Philip Jansen.
5G services will be initially available in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester.
In a second phase, the carrier will also launch 5G in the busiest areas of Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol.
EE had previously said that the first 1,500 sites that it is upgrading to 5G in 2019 carry 25% of all data across its whole network, but only cover 15% of the U.K. population.
Last year, U.K. telcos obtained spectrum for the future provision of 5G services. BT-owned EE won 40 megahertz for which it paid £303 million ($395 million). Three secured 20 megahertz of 3.4 GHz spectrum at a cost of £151.3 million. Vodafone won 50 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.4GHz frequency band after paying £378 million, while Telefónica-owned O2 picked up 40 megahertz for £318m.
Rival operators are also paving the way to launch commercial 5G services in the UK. Telecommunications group Vodafone recently announced it will launch 5G technology in 12 new cities across the UK during this year.
Vodafone has installed 5G antennas and associated equipment in Birmingham, Glasgow and London ahead of going live.
Vodafone said plans for this year include the launch of 5G in Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton.
O2 and Three are also carrying out 5G trials ahead of a commercial launch.
In the statement, BT also said that the company has plans in place to face potential challenges associated with the U.K. decision to leave the European Union.
“We have plans in place to ensure that we’re prepared for the final outcome of negotiations between the UK and the EU, including the possibility of a no deal Brexit,” the company said. “Our contingency planning is focussed on ensuring we can continue to provide uninterrupted service to our customers, including sufficient inventory to protect against potential import delays.”
“We are also making the necessary changes to our contracts and processes so that we will continue to be able to transfer customer data to and from the EU. A disorderly exit could have a damaging impact on consumer and business confidence. It is too early to estimate the size of any potential impact.”