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EE Starts Deploying Ultrafast 5G in 13 More UK Towns and Cities

Thursday, January 14th, 2021 (9:51 am) - Score 35,304

Mobile operator EE (BT) has today confirmed that their new 5G ultrafast mobile broadband network has now started to go live in the busiest parts of a further 13 towns and cities across the United Kingdom, which includes locations such as Halifax, Leamington Spa and St Albans.

The development means that their 5G network is now live across parts of 125 UK locations, although it will often take a long time for the coverage in each area to reach a similar level to that of their existing 4G infrastructure (network deployments are a very gradual affair, starting small and growing big over months and years).

NOTE: The latest 13 locations include Burton-upon-Trent, Cannock, Grimsby, Halifax, Ipswich, Leamington Spa, Middlesbrough, Neath, Portishead, St Albans, Stockport, Swinton and Tamworth.

At present the operator can only harness a 40MHz slice of the 3.4GHz radio spectrum band for dedicated 5G services (excluding dynamic spectrum sharing with 4G), but more bands are imminently due to be auctioned off by Ofcom (e.g. 700MHz and 3.6-3.8GHz). Nevertheless, they’ve so far been able to deliver ultrafast (c.100-150Mbps+) speeds in many areas, but more spectrum will certainly be needed to push that further.

Meanwhile new network insights from EE are showing an increased appetite for mobile gaming. The launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S in November 2020 saw peak traffic for gaming services increase by more than 50% compared to the same time the month before. Mobile traffic for PlayStation alone increased almost three-fold between October and November 2020.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer business, said:

“Today’s recognition shows the continued investment we’re making to keep our customers connected to what matters most to them, whether that’s enjoying the latest gaming release, sharing video calls with loved ones, or online learning. Our award-winning 5G service is now available in 125 towns and cities across the UK, and our rollout continues so we can bring the best mobile experience to even more people and places.”

As part of today’s announcement Marc Allera has also taken a swipe at some of their rivals by calling on operators to ensure that, when they announce a new location for 5G coverage, that the network itself must already be able to deliver “meaningful levels of coverage there” (e.g. O2’s addition of Strathclyde today, where their 5G coverage is hardly visible).

During our initial 5G rollout, we are only announcing places with a minimum population of 10,000 people, within which we must be delivering 5G coverage to at least a third of that local population as well as the centre of the location. Once announced this is really only the start for 5G coverage as we continue to invest and grow coverage in those towns and cities,” said Allera.

We think that’s a fair point and if EE didn’t adopt this approach then they could easily claim to be live in c.200, rather than 125, UK locations. But getting rivals to agree to a standardised approach for this is another matter entirely.

You can see a full list of EE’s 5G locations below. Just remember that the rollout in each area is on-going and in some locations their coverage will be lower than others. The operator has also faced delays due to the UK Government’s requirement that they remove and replace existing Huawei kit.


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46 Responses
  1. Avatar Sam says:

    its missing Brighton and Portsmouth and Southampton on that list…

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Most likely due to their minimum coverage requirements, which must be met before a new location is officially listed.

  2. Avatar Lucian says:

    That’s great.

    Ofcom say the auction should happen mid-January. Once it is finished wonder how long it’ll take them to enable the new bands.

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      There’s a possibility of delay due to COVID-19. Ofcom are due to clarify the plan soon.

  3. Avatar EE User says:

    Nice. I can now get 5G at work. Speedtest on EE 5G was roughly 13/5. Meanwhile on EE 4G at the same location: 105/46.

    Not all is as it seems with EE’s 5G flag it seems 😉

    1. Avatar Bob Hannent says:

      5G is all marketing, the UK providers have never invested to meet the potential of the technology. 4G was already gigabit capable but most people will never see consistent delivery at high speed.

  4. Avatar mark says:

    haha Portishead! I live in the middle of it and there is no 5G here. I can see the town from where I live – Higher up in the town there is none either i’ll see if I can get it in a few weeks and report back

  5. Avatar William Wilkinson says:

    No mention of Lancaster. Starlink is my best hope this year I think.

  6. Avatar Jamie Simms says:

    This morning’s announcements by EE and O2 of a number of new live 5G locations along with 3s aggressive rollout this highlights how far Vodafone are being left behind with still no 5G in big cities like Nottingham,Leicester,Derby,Peterborough,Cambridge,Oxford,Northampton. They also only have small slither of coverage on the outskirts of Sheffield and Newcastle Upon Tyne.

    I was down in Bournemouth earlier this week and experienced VF 5G DSS sharing the 2100mhz and this was extremely disappointing with speeds as slow as 4G around 60-80Mbps and high pings hopefully they don’t roll this out too much as to me this is fake 5G and just cheating consumers.

    When using EE 5G this has been mostly very impressive all around the country and as the press reports indicated in urban areas the speeds have improved since 5G first launched as they are adding greater depth to their coverage and I understand this will get better soon as they will be adding their equipment onto a number of 3 streetside masts that have 5G installed

  7. Avatar Dave says:

    Can’t believe not a single provider has touched with 5G Barnsley yet, quarter of a million people and it seems to be restricted to the odd industrial estate or scraps of signal peaking through from neighbouring towns.

    Not personally that bothered but I have some friends in an area poorly served area for broadband who think 5G will be a better way to use online services at home.

  8. Avatar Sean says:

    No Derry City in Northern Ireland, 2nd largest City in Ireland!

    1. Avatar Caracal & serval says:

      2nd in Northern Ireland*

  9. Avatar tinker says:

    Hmmm, so, outside of the south Essex corridor, East Anglia’s EE 5G consists of… Um… Ipswich, and nothing else. There’s not a surprise.

    O2 (of all people) have beaten them to the punch here for 5G. Surprise is an understatement.

    1. Avatar JItterPinger says:

      Is this based on actual 5G connections being available or their fairytale availability listing ?

  10. Avatar Neil says:

    “UK” Towns and Cities???

  11. Avatar Jim says:

    There’s a good chunk of EE “unpublished” 5G coverage to the west of Norwich too, and has been for some months – the mast is in Costessey but reaches as far as Drayton and Taverham to the North……

  12. Avatar Paul says:

    Just annoying that it’s really only for outdoor use currently. I have an EE and Three 5G mast near me and neither of them pick anything up indoors which hampers my plan to have it as a home broadband option.

    Still no fttp and fttc is slow, so I had thought about this as an alternative.

    1. Avatar JitteryPinger says:

      Need to get external kit and get it mounted up above roofline.

    2. Avatar Dave says:

      @Paul – the nature of the true 5G wavelengths that give the fastest speeds/low latency mean it will never be as effective indoors (if at all). It’s definitely a viable home broadband alternative but with an external antenna.

    3. Avatar CJ says:

      It must be down to the construction materials. I’m 1km from the mast, just outside the 5G coverage are shown on the map, and get a reliable 250/20 connection indoors on Three using a Huawei 5G CPE Pro 2 placed upstairs in the room closest to the mast. I look forward to testing EE which isn’t live yet but does show coverage on the map, so hopefully not long to wait.

      I looked at external 5G equipment with the intention of putting it in the loft, but there doesn’t seem to be much available yet unless you are willing to buy directly from China.

    4. Avatar James Hurling says:

      you could get something like this if you want an outdoor antenna for 5G


      I’ve also noticed 220mbps in some parts of clacton-on-sea but its still a mile away from me, so my nearest 2 masts have not been upgraded yet, so close, yet too far away.

  13. Avatar Oli says:

    I get speeds in excess of 500mbps in my home with EE 5G.

    Unfortunately their mobile broadband offerings are rubbish.


    1. Avatar JitteryPinger says:

      My question is how much of that speed comes from the 4G side of the network, 5G doesn’t operate alone.

    2. Avatar Oli says:

      And this is 4G+ for me.


    3. Avatar Dave says:

      @Oli – £55 a month for unlimited doesn’t seem too bad for those speeds? I’d have thought the ping would be a bit lower though, 19ms in a point to point speed test is on the high side for gaming.

  14. Avatar Philip Cheeseman says:

    Still can barely get 4g in my town 2 miles from Southampton so I won’t hold my breath.

  15. Avatar William Hook says:

    I’ve still yet to see my phone show 5G…ever…since I got it in Nov (iPhone 12 Pro Max). And I live in one of the cities listed (Stafford). :/

  16. Avatar David says:

    Why not the city of Wakefield in this roll out?
    Its a Metropolitan City but no decent broadband speed.

  17. Avatar The Facts says:

    Every comment – Why not where I live?

  18. Avatar Lee says:

    When willwork start in Middlesbrough??

  19. Avatar Linda Higgins says:

    What about North Wales? We get extremely poor service yet pay the same prices for what?

    1. Avatar JitteryPinger says:


    2. Avatar JitteryPinger says:

      I’ll swap with ya, you come and live in the urban areas and I’ll take a breath of fresh air.

      You will probably find it costs a lot more money to maintain network in your area, never mind mind upgrade it.

      I don’t think its you paying same for less, I think its us pay more sometimes, when I was living overseas, line rental costs where based on your location (length of line maintainable from exchange and a 3G/4G plan ‘sim only’ with about 10GB of data also cost about £80 per month at best.

    3. Avatar JitteryPinger says:

      Of course we can keep lowering costs, and the companies can then keep lowering salaries and making people redundant and then stop maintaining and upgrading stuff and we can all end up in the …. and then when nothing works think about the people who can’t feed there families if they where ever even able to have one.

  20. Avatar Simon O'Rourke says:

    Well done looks like you will be on course to complete 5g roll out before 2050.

  21. Avatar Dik says:

    No mention of London on the list. If you have a 5G handset, do you pay for 5G if your only getting 4G?

  22. Avatar Steve Horsfield says:

    Chorley??? That is questionable. Haven’t had a 5G signal in Chorley yet.

  23. Avatar Ben Stott says:

    The EE website shows my local area of Morley as not having 5G coverage however I did get a speed test result of 187mb yesterday.

    First time I have seen the 5G icon so thought I would give it a try.

    Morley must be included in what they class as Leeds

  24. Avatar Sheila Olive kay says:

    I’m already suffering with headaches and memory disturbances from 4g. What can I do to protect myself please?

    1. Avatar Alzo says:

      Fashion yourself a hat made from tinfoil – it will prevent the signals frying your brain.

  25. Avatar Sir Richard Lower MBE says:

    I couldn’t bloody login as per usual. What is best problem

  26. Avatar Ashley says:

    We have listing 2 years that 4G+ in coming but nothing changed. Now we are listing 5G dose it really change our world or its just a numbers like 4G and 5G. Because I don’t feel any difference between 4G and 4G+?

  27. Avatar Ashley says:

    We have listing 2 years that 4G+ in coming but nothing changed. Now we are listing 5G dose it really change our world or its just a numbers like 4G and 5G. Because I do not feel any difference between 4G and 4G+?

    1. Avatar Kenny says:

      In Washington, between Sunderland & Gateshead my 5G download speeds can reach up to 330mbps. On 4G I can achieve download speeds of up to 70mbps. I have noticed two icons on 5G, one is “5G” within a box outline, the other is “5G” within a shaded box. The latter is as close to 5G as possible atm, the first uses mainly 4G to achieve its speeds.
      4G+ was simply a slightly faster version of 4G but probably required full signal to achieve a noticeable difference.
      5G is also more stable and shouldn’t choke in highly populated areas as 4G does. There are times on 4G when you can have full signal but get no data movement, this shouldn’t be the case on 5G.

  28. Avatar Bob the builder says:

    St Alban’s is a city

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