BT 5G coverage and roll-out

BT 5G Roll Out

Now

39

Postcode areas with 5G Coverage

End of 2019

39

Postcode areas with 5G Coverage

BT launched its 5G service on Friday 11th October, 2019. It launched in 71 towns and cities on day one, and – unsurprisingly since it owns EE – it offers 5G coverage in the same places as EE, with 100 locations in total now covered at the time of writing.

However, it’s worth noting that these locations don’t initially have comprehensive 5G coverage. Rather, 5G will be found primarily in places with high population density.

BT - through EE - has also named 8 more places that will get 5G soon. Initially, its 5G service was only available to BT Halo customers, but as of February 2020 it’s now available to everyone – though as noted, not all places yet have 5G coverage.

Contents list

  1. BT 5G Coverage
    1. ​BT coverage checker
    2. ​Cities with BT 5G now?
    3. Locations getting 5G next?
    4. Comparison to other networks
  2. BT 4G Coverage
  3. BT 5G Network Speeds
  4. BT's 5G Spectrum

BT coverage checker

BT Mobile has an online coverage checker where you can enter your postcode to view coverage in your area. You can view 5G, 4G, 3G and even 2G coverage.

You should definitely check the 5G coverage in your area before buying a 5G phone or plan, as it won’t initially be available everywhere, even within the cities that have partial coverage.

COVERAGE CHECKER

Which towns and cities have BT 5G now

Altrincham

Ashford

Ashton Under Lyme

Bath

Belfast

Belshill

Brentford

Birkenhead

Birmingham

Borehamwood

Bransholm

Bristol

Bury

Cardiff

Castlereagh

Chatham

Chelmsford

Cheshunt

Chesterfield

Chester le Street

Chorley

Clevedon

Clifton

Clydebank

Coventry

Cumbernauld

Dartford

Dinnington

Doncaster

Dudley

Edinburgh

Epsom

Gillingham

Glasgow

Grays

Guildford

Hamilton

Harlow

Hoddesdon

Huddersfield

Hull

Ilkeston

Inchinnan

Jarrow

Kimberley

Kingston

Leeds

Leicester

Lichfield

Lisburn

Liverpool

Loughborough

Loughton

London

Maidstone

Manchester

Milnrow

Minster

Motherwell

Newcastle

Newton-le-Willows

Northampton

North Shields

Nottingham

Nuneaton

Oldham

Paisley

Plymouth

Pontefract

Potters Bar

Rochdale

Rochester

Romford

Rotherham

Rugeley

Salford

Sheffield

Solihull

Southend On Sea

South Shields

Staines

Stevenage

Stirling

Sunderland

Sutton Coldfield

Swadlincote

Sydenham

Wakefield

Waltham Abbey

Walsall

Waltham Cross

Walton-On-Thames

Washington

Watford

West Bromwich

Weston-Super-Mare

Westhoughton

Weybridge

Wickford

BT Mobile hasn’t provided a full list of the places its 5G network is available, but as it’s using EE’s infrastructure the locations should be the same. That means the major cities include parts of Bath, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, Sunderland, Wakefield and Wolverhampton.

You’ll also find BT 5G coverage in a large and ever-growing number of smaller locations, listed in the chart above.

What locations will BT 5G roll out to next?

BT itself hasn’t said much about its 5G plans throughout 2020, but since it’s sharing infrastructure with EE, we only need to look at what that network is doing.

EE then has said that it will switch on over 100 5G sites every month, and that in during the rest of 2020 the following 8 places (likely among others) will get 5G:

Towns and Cities getting BT 5G in 2020

Aberdeen

Cambridge

Derby

Gloucester

Peterborough

Portsmouth

Southampton

Worcester

As with current coverage areas these locations won’t have complete 5G coverage on day one though.

BT Mobile’s coverage in places that already have 5G is sure to improve too, but it might be years before the UK has comprehensive 5G coverage from BT or any other network.

How does BT's 5G coverage compare to the other mobile networks?

There are currently 91 major towns and cities with 5G coverage from at least one UK mobile network. BT 5G coverage is currently available in 61 major locations (along with many smaller ones), Vodafone has 29 major locations, O2 has 26, and Three currently offers 5G in 41 locations, as well as offering 5G Home Broadband in London.

Town/City

EE

+BT

Vodafone

+VOXI

Three

O2

+Sky +Tesco

Aberdeen

-

-

Bath

-

-

Basildon

-

-

-

Belfast

-

Birkenhead

2020

Birmingham

Blackpool

-

2020

2020

Bradford

-

-

Brighton

-

-

Bristol

Bury

-

-

-

Cardiff

Chatham

-

Chelmsford

-

-

-

Cheltenham

-

-

-

Chesterfield

-

-

Clevedon

-

-

-

Clydebank

-

-

-

Coventry

-

Dartford

-

-

Derby

2020

-

Doncaster

-

-

Dudley

-

-

-

Dundee

-

-

Edinburgh

-

Gillingham

-

-

Glasgow

Guildford

2020

Harlow

-

-

-

Hemel Hempstead

-

-

Huddersfield

-

Hull

-

-

Kingston Upon Thames

-

-

2020

Ipswich

-

-

-

Lancaster

-

-

-

Leeds

Leicester

-

Lichfield

-

-

-

Liverpool

Llandudno

-

-

-

Loughborough

-

-

-

London

Luton

-

-

Maidstone

-

-

Manchester

Middlesbrough

-

-

-

Motherwell

-

-

Newbury

-

-

2020

Newcastle

-

-

Northampton

-

-

North Shields

-

-

Norwich

-

-

-

Nottingham

-

Oldham

-

-

-

Oxford

-

-

-

Paisley

-

-

Peterborough

2020

-

Plymouth

Portsmouth

2020

2020

-

Preston

-

-

-

Reading

-

2020

Redhill

-

-

-

Rochdale

-

-

Rochester

-

-

-

Romford

-

-

-

Rotherham

-

2020

Salford

-

-

Sheffield

-

Slough

-

-

Solihull

-

-

Southampton

2020

2020

2020

Southend On Sea

-

-

-

South Shields

-

-

St. Albans

-

-

-

Staines

-

-

Stevenage

-

-

Stirling

-

-

-

Stockport

-

-

-

Stoke-on-Trent

-

-

Sunderland

-

Sutton Coalfield

-

-

-

Swansea

-

-

Swindon

-

-

-

Wakefield

-

-

-

Walsall

-

-

-

Warrington

-

-

Watford

-

-

-

West Bromwich

-

-

-

Wigan

-

-

-

Wolverhampton

2020

2020

Worthing

-

-

-

York

-

-

-

BT 4G Coverage

If you’re not in a 5G coverage area then you can still use your phone even on a 5G plan, you’ll simply access 4G or 3G, just like you would have been doing for years before 5G arrived.

You can see an overview of BT’s 4G coverage and that of other networks below.

UK 4G Coverage (2020)

Network

4G population coverage

EE

(+BT)

>99%

Check Coverage

Three

99.8%

 Check Coverage

Vodafone

(+VOXI)

99% 

Check Coverage

O2

(+Sky +Tesco)

99% 

Check Coverage

Check BT Coverage

BT 5G Network Speeds

EE’s average 5G download speed

EE’s average 5G download speed

EE’s fastest median 5G download speed

EE’s max 5G download speed in London

205.02Mbps (Ookla)

149.8Mbps (Opensignal)

145.9Mbps (Newcastle)

388.4Mbps

We don’t have much data on BT’s 5G speeds just yet, but the network itself has said to expect speeds that on average are around 150Mbps faster than 4G, with peak speeds of potentially 1Gbps.

And we do have a good idea of EE’s speeds, which is relevant because BT owns EE and shares its infrastructure, meaning 5G performance across the two is likely to be similar.

You can see much of this data in the chart above, with data from Ookla for example showing that EE’s average 5G download speed as of late 2019 might be around 205.02Mbps, while Opensignal data from early 2020 records an average speed of 149.8Mbps.

RootMetrics meanwhile found that EE managed a median download speeds of 145.9Mbps in Newcastle during the first half of 2020. That city was selected as it was higher than EE’s median in any of the other 15 cities on test, though across all of them EE achieved a median speed of at least 103.9Mbps.

As for London, EE’s median download speed there was 138.1Mbps, and its highest speed there was 388.4Mbps. While in an earlier test, RootMetrics found the network was capable of even higher speeds of up to 450.9Mbps in Birmingham.

So assuming BT is in line with EE, you’re likely looking at 5G download speeds of around 100-150Mbps on average at the time of writing, with top speeds of at least 450Mbps. Though the network’s own estimates put the speeds higher, as noted above.

Latency

We don’t know how low BT’s 5G latency is yet, but in theory latency on 5G can be as little as around 1 millisecond (ms).

That’s a big improvement on the 30-50ms typically seen on 4G, and could be hugely beneficial, as latency is how long a network takes to even respond to a request – so a high latency can hold things up even with superfast data.

EE for its part has said to expect an almost “instant connection” – though we wouldn’t expect anything as low as 1ms just yet.

Indeed, according to late 2019 data from Ookla, UK networks are offering average 5G latency of around 21-26ms.

BT’s 5G Spectrum

5G frequency soectrum

BT shares EE’s 5G spectrum, which you can see an overview of in the chart above (credit: Three).

Note that the line at 100MHz is there because this is the amount of contiguous 5G spectrum required for ‘true’ 5G according to the ITU (the global standards body on 5G technology).

But there will be time for EE/BT to build on their total, as Ofcom plans to auction spectrum in the 700MHz and 3.6GHz – 3.8GHz bands as well probably as the 8GHz and 26GHz bands at some point. And there might be more auctions in other bands too.

Networks that have launched 5G in the UK

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