There are five main mobile operators in the UK and all have now confirmed that they will begin rollout of their 5G networks in 2019. Compared to the launch and rollout of 4G, the mobile operators are all moving at a very fast pace with all seemingly wanting to be among the first in the UK to launch 5G.
Ahead of these launches, each of the mobile operators has begun 5G trials in various locations with much haste and success. The current position of each network - including launch dates and locations, launch devices and details of their network and trials - can be seen by following the link for the relevant operators below.
Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO)
There are quite a few MVNOs in the UK. These provide mobile services via one of the five main operators above. As such it is not possible for the MVNOs to launch 5G prior to the main operators and in fact there is likely to be a hefty delay before most MVNOs launch 5G.
Other than Sky Mobile - which plans to launch at the same time as O2 - none of the MVNOs have so far outlined if or when they will be launching 5G, and it should be noted that the main operator and the MVNO have to both agree this via contract.
The most popular MVNOs and some further details for each can be found by following the read more links below.
- ASDA mobile - read more
- FreedomPop - read more
- Giffgaff - read more
- iD Mobile - read more
- Lycamobile - read more
- Plusnet - read more
- SMARTY - read more
- Sky Mobile - read more
- Tesco Mobile - read more
- Virgin Mobile - read more
- VOXI - read more
As we say, 5G will launch in 2019, though possibly not until the last quarter of the year. So currently no network has any real 5G coverage.
Even at launch there is no way that 5G will be available nationwide. Rather, it will initially come to a few cities and likely only in certain parts of those cities.
Our guesstimate would be not to expect full nationwide 5G coverage for 4 to 5 years. But that might not be a big problem, as in most of the areas where you won't initially be able to get 5G you can still get 4G, which is pretty fast.