EE has launched the first 5G mobile broadband plans in the UK, allowing customers to ditch their traditional wired router for a small 5G-powered Wi-Fi hotspot.
Given that the average download speed in the UK is around 55Mbps, customers should see a dramatic boost in speeds, too... as long as they're in one of the six cities where EE 5G is currently available.
- EE 5G UK review: it feels like the future is (nearly) here
- EE 5G network has launched in the UK, prices start from £32 a month
- Best 5G smartphones: every 5G device announced in 2019
Powering this new service is the award-winning HTC 5G Hub – the very first 5G mobile broadband device available in the UK.
Unveiled at the MWC tradeshow earlier this year, the HTC 5G Hub can share its zippy 5G signal via next-gen AD 2x2 Wi-Fi, which enjoy similarly fast top speeds, 'dramatically faster than 4G LTE' and 'wire equivalent' latencies, according to the company. Gamers will like the 'ultra-low' latency, with 4K at 60fps on compatible devices. There's also a one Gigabit ethernet connection built in – for those who prefer to connect to the internet the good ol' fashioned way.
HTC has also built-in a 7,660 mAh battery, so you can take the 5G Hub outside of the home or office – and bring your faster-than-fibre-broadband speeds with you. HTC says it's possible to connect up to 20 devices 'safely and securely on a high-speed encrypted network' or via your VPN.
And finally, as well as showing Nasa-esque numbers and stats about your connection, the HTC 5G Hub's 5-inch HD touchscreen can be used as a media centre, accessing 5G to stream 4K videos to a second screen and deliver crisp, clear content. Since it's powered by Android 9.0 Pie, Google Assistant makes a welcome appearance too, so you'll be able to ask the 5G Hub to adjust your Philip Hue bulbs.
The smart hub, which costs £500 when bought SIM-free, is available on EE 5G for an one-off upfront cost of £100 coupled with either 50GB of monthly 5G data on a £50 per month, or with 100GB on a £75 per month plan. All plans are 24 months.
EE is switching on 5G sites in 16 UK cities in 2019. The first launch cities have already launched in UK’s four capital cities – London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast – as well as Birmingham and Manchester. Later this year, EE will roll-out 5G to the busiest areas in ten more UK cities: Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol.
With its 5G network, EE expects customers to experience a boost in speeds of around 100-150Mbps in the busiest areas. That means speeds are within the theoretical top of the range of what can be achieved on 4G (but very rarely are) but you're going to be hitting them almost constantly. Of course, 5G is also capable of much, much faster speeds than that too, with reports of well over 1GBps being recorded after the network rolled-out last month.
EE Marketing Director, Edward Goff said: "Our 5G network will give EE customers even faster, more reliable mobile WiFi connections where they need it most – whether online gaming on the move, downloading or streaming HD content, or simply keeping a fast connection in the busiest areas.
"With the HTC 5G Hub, we’re seeing mobile experiences typically associated with tablets and smartphones combined with the practicality of a mobile broadband device and portable battery. With such a diverse product, we’re the only UK network that allows users to enjoy the fastest mobile connectivity in more places."
Rival network Three has also announced plans to bring 5G speeds to the home to take on traditional broadband speeds. However, Three doesn't plan to switch on its 5G service until August, where the roll-out begins in London.