BT 5G coverage and roll-out

BT 5G Roll Out

Now

31

Postcode areas with 5G Coverage

End of 2019

31

Postcode areas with 5G Coverage

End of 2020

20

Postcode areas with 5G Coverage

BT launched its 5G service on Friday 11th October, 2019. It launched in 20 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 though its 5G service is only available to BT Halo customers

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

Belfast

Birmingham

Bristol

Cardiff

Castlereagh

Chatham

 Clifton

Coventry

Dudley

Edinburgh

Gillingham

Glasgow

Grays

Guildford

Hamilton

Harlow

Hoddesdon

Huddersfield

Hull

Kimberley

Kingston-upon-Thames

Leeds

Leicester

Lichfield

Lisburn

Liverpool

 Lichfield

London

Maidstone

 Manchester

Milnrow 

Newcastle

Northampton

Nottingham

Oldham

Potters Bar

Rochdale

Romford

Salford

Sheffield

Solihull

Stevenage

Sunderland

Sutton Coldfield

Sydenham

Wakefield

Walsall

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 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 57 major towns and cities with 5G coverage from at least one UK mobile network. BT 5G coverage is currently available in 41 major locations (along with many smaller ones), Vodafone has 23 major locations, O2 has 21, and Three currently only offers 5G Home Broadband in London.

City

EE (BT)

Vodafone

Three

O2

Coverage checker

Check Coverage Check Coverage Check Coverage Check Coverage

Belfast

-

Birkenhead

-

-

Summer 2020

Birmingham

Q1 2020

Bolton

-

Q1 2020

-

Bootle

-

-

-

Bradford

-

-

Q1 2020

Bristol

Q1 2020

Cardiff

Q1 2020

Chatham

-

-

-

Coventry

-

Q1 2020

Derby

2020

-

Q1 2020

Dudley

-

-

-

Edinburgh

Q1 2020

Gatwick

-

-

-

Gillingham

-

-

-

Glasgow

Q1 2020

Guildford

2020

-

Q1 2020

Hamilton

-

-

-

Harlow

-

-

-

Huddersfield

-

-

-

Hull

-

Q1 2020

-

Kingston Upon Thames

-

-

Q1 2020

Lancaster

-

-

-

Leeds

Q1 2020

Leicester

-

Q1 2020

Lichfield

-

-

-

Lisburn

-

-

Liverpool

Q1 2020

Llandudno

-

-

-

London

Maidstone

-

-

-

Manchester

Q1 2020

Newbury

-

-

Summer 2020

Newcastle

-

-

Northampton

-

-

Summer 2020

Norwich

-

-

-

Nottingham

-

Q1 2020

Oldham

-

-

-

Paisley

-

-

-

Plymouth

2020

-

Summer 2020

Rochdale

-

-

Romford

-

-

-

Salford

-

-

Sheffield

-

Q1 2020

Slough

-

-

Q1 2020

Solihull

-

-

Stevenage

-

-

-

Stockport

-

-

-

Stoke-on-Trent

-

-

Sunderland

-

Q1 2020

Summer 2020

Sutton Coalfield

-

-

-

Wakefield

-

-

-

Walsall

-

-

-

Warrington

-

-

Summer 2020

Watford

-

-

-

West Bromwich

-

-

-

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 (2019)

Network

4G population coverage

EE (BT)

>99% (check coverage)

Three

99.8% (check coverage)

Vodafone

99% (check coverage)

O2

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.

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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