EE says it will offer 5G across the UK by 2028 – but it’s bye bye to 3G in 2023

(Pocket-lint) – EE has clarified its future plans for 5G rollout across the UK with the headline aim of bringing 5G coverage to 90 percent of the UK landmass by 2028. The plan also states the aim of 50 percent population coverage five years prior, in 2023. 

Also included in the plan is a date for the long-expected retirement of 3G by 2023 in order to beef up 5G capacity. The gap in coverage will be filled by the current drive to improve 4G reach. Interestingly, EE says that 3G now handles less than 2 percent of data traffic. 

EE says it will expand 4G by a further 4,500 square miles by 2025, filling more dead spots as part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme alongside Vodafone, Three and O2 to expand networks into previously unviable areas by sharing infrastructure. The programme will also mean more choice in areas where, for example, there’s only a current choice of one operator.

The network is set to launch its new 5G core network in 2023. To reach its goals for population coverage, UK networks will do what we’ve seen in the US and add low-band 5G spectrum (won in the recent auction) to the mix to increase coverage.

EE says that Redditch, Morecambe and Cramlington are the first UK towns that will benefit from this new spectrum coverage. 

EE/BT additionally says it expects to fully integrate fibre, Wi-Fi and mobile networks by the middle of this decade meaning that the technologies will work better together to provide seamless connectivity and offering customers fully integrated bundles. 

Additionally, the network says it will offer more alternative ‘on demand’ 5G coverage solutions for large events just like we’ve seen at events like Glastonbury in the past. It will also experiment with satellite solutions from OneWeb

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Writing by Dan Grabham. Originally published on 14 July 2021.

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