BT 5G coverage and roll-out

BT 5G Roll Out

Now

35

Postcode areas with 5G Coverage

End of 2019

35

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 50 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 has also named 9 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 cities have BT 5G now

Towns and cities with BT 5G now

Ashton Under Lyme

Bath

Belfast

Birkenhead

Birmingham

Bransholme

Bristol

Bury

Cardiff

Castlereagh

Chatham

Chelmsford

Cheshunt

Clevedon

Clifton

Clydebank

Coventry

Dartford

Dudley

Edinburgh

Gillingham

Glasgow

Grays

Guildford

Hamilton

Harlow

Hoddesdon

Huddersfield

Hull

Kimberley

Kingston-upon-Thames

Leeds

Leicester

Lichfield

Lisburn

Liverpool

Loughborough

Loughton

London

Maidstone

Manchester

Milnrow

Motherwell

Newcastle

Northampton

North Shields

Nottingham

Oldham

Potters Bar

Rochdale

Rochester

Romford

Rotherham

Rugeley

Salford

Sheffield

Solihull

South Shields

Staines

Stevenage

Sunderland

Sutton Coldfield

Swadlincote

Sydenham

Wakefield

Walsall

Waltham Cross

Watford

West Bromwich

Wolverhampton

 

 

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 2020 the following 9 places (likely among others) will get 5G:

Towns and Cities getting BT 5G in 2020

Aberdeen

Cambridge

Derby

Gloucester

Peterborough

Plymouth

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 87 major towns and cities with 5G coverage from at least one UK mobile network. BT 5G coverage is currently available in 58 major locations (along with many smaller ones), Vodafone has 26 major locations, O2 has 21, and Three currently offers 5G in 39 locations, as well as offering 5G Home Broadband in London.

Town/City

EE

+BT

Vodafone

+VOXI

Three

O2

+Sky +Tesco

Aberdeen

-

-

-

Bath

-

-

Belfast

-

Birkenhead

Summer 2020

Birmingham

Blackpool

-

Q1 2020

Q1 2020

Bootle

-

-

-

Bradford

-

-

Brighton

-

-

Summer 2020

Bristol

Bury

-

-

-

Cardiff

Chatham

-

-

Chelmsford

-

-

-

Clevedon

-

-

-

Clydebank

-

-

-

Coventry

-

Dartford

-

-

-

Derby

2020

-

-

Doncaster

-

-

-

Dudley

-

-

-

Dundee

-

-

-

Edinburgh

-

Gatwick

-

-

-

Gillingham

-

-

-

Glasgow

Guildford

2020

Q1 2020

Hamilton

-

-

-

Harlow

-

-

-

Hemel Hempstead

-

-

-

Huddersfield

-

-

Hull

-

-

-

Kingston Upon Thames

-

-

Q1 2020

Ipswich

-

-

-

Lancaster

-

-

-

Leeds

Leicester

-

Lichfield

-

-

-

Lisburn

-

-

Liverpool

Llandudno

-

-

-

Loughborough

-

-

-

Loughton

-

-

-

London

Luton

-

-

Summer 2020

Maidstone

-

-

Manchester

Motherwell

-

-

Newbury

-

-

Summer 2020

Newcastle

-

-

Northampton

-

-

Summer 2020

North Shields

-

-

-

Norwich

-

-

-

Nottingham

-

Oldham

-

-

-

Paisley

-

-

-

Peterborough

2020

-

-

Plymouth

2020

Summer 2020

Preston

-

-

-

Reading

-

March 2020

Rochdale

-

-

Rochester

-

-

-

Romford

-

-

-

Rotherham

-

Q1 2020

-

Rugeley

-

-

-

Salford

-

-

Sheffield

-

Slough

-

-

Solihull

-

-

Swadlincote

-

-

South Shields

-

-

-

St. Albans

-

-

-

Staines

-

-

-

Stevenage

-

-

-

Stockport

-

-

-

Stoke-on-Trent

-

-

Sunderland

-

Summer 2020

Sutton Coalfield

-

-

-

Swansea

-

-

-

Swindon

-

-

-

Wakefield

-

-

-

Walsall

-

-

-

Warrington

-

-

Summer 2020

Watford

-

-

-

West Bromwich

-

-

-

Wigan

-

-

-

Wolverhampton

Q1 2020

Summer 2020

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

5G is much faster and lower latency than 4G. As for exactly how fast BT’s is, the network has said to expect speeds on average that are around 150Mbps faster than 4G, with peak speeds of potentially 1Gbps.

EE – which uses the same infrastructure – has said similar, saying that for now its 5G users should expect speeds that are around 100-150Mbps faster than 4G on average. That means you’re probably looking at typical speeds of roughly 130Mbps – 240Mbps, with peak speeds of over 1Gbps.

Having said that, in an Opensignal report covering the period of April-September 2019, it was found that the top 5G speeds on any UK network were 599Mbps, so don’t count on breaking the 1Gbps barrier for a while.

RootMetrics has also carried out research into 5G speeds, and found that in summer and autumn 2019, EE’s median 5G speed in London was 149.2Mbps, while its peak speed was 327.1Mbps, so BT’s might be similar.

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 40-50ms 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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