It’s big 5G news from EE today, as the network has announced that it has brought 5G to 14 more towns and cities, namely Castlereagh, Glasgow, Guildford, Hamilton, Harlow, Hoddesdon, Huddersfield, Kimberley, Liverpool, Lisburn, Maidstone, Sydenham, Watford and Wolverhampton.
That brings its 5G coverage up to 12 cities and 29 towns overall, for combined coverage of 41 locations. By the end of the year EE is aiming to bring that number up to at least 45.
And the network has also expanded its 5G presence in places that already had some coverage, with a particular focus on high footfall areas, such as London’s Carnaby Street and Camden Market, Bristol Parkway and Cardiff Castle.
A familiarly big lead
Currently it looks like EE’s 5G roll out could mirror its 4G one, in that it might manage to retain a substantial lead on rivals. As not only is its coverage expanding quickly, it also – according to independent testing from RootMetrics – has the broadest 5G availability, including better coverage in London, Cardiff and Birmingham than rivals.
For example, in London EE was found to have an impressive 60.6% 5G availability, while Vodafone for comparison was found to have just 21.7%. Similarly, in Cardiff EE recorded 43.4% availability to Vodafone’s 14%, and in Birmingham EE was at 51.6%, while Vodafone had 10.8%.
EE also achieved the highest average download speeds in these places, with three quarters of tests in London, whether on 4G or 5G, achieving speeds of at least 50Mbps, while 60% of tests saw speeds higher than 100Mbps.
Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer division, said: “Switching on 5G in more places is helping us deliver the best mobile experience to our customers, keeping them connected to the things that matter most. RootMetrics’ early 5G testing shows that we are a long way ahead in terms of 5G performance, and our engineers are continuing to build new sites every day, on our journey to keeping our customers connected 100% of the time.”
Of course, it’s no real surprise that EE is ahead, because as with 4G it launched its 5G services before rivals, but with the latest progress its lead is substantial. It will be interesting to see how long EE can retain it for.