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EE Adds 35 New UK Locations to their Ultrafast 5G Mobile Cover

Thursday, April 8th, 2021 (8:20 am) - Score 20,352

Mobile operator EE (BT) has confirmed that a further 35 towns and cities across the United Kingdom have started to go live on their new 5G ultrafast mobile broadband network, which brings the total location count to 160. Some of the biggest additions include York (Yorkshire), Dundee (Scotland) and Swansea (Wales).

Unlike other operators EE only announces places as being live if they have a minimum population of 10,000 people, within which they must also be delivering 5G coverage to “at least a third of that local population as well as the centre of the location.” By comparison, we’ve seen some rivals announce locations despite only having the tiniest of coverage available.

NOTE: The latest 35 locations include: Aldridge, Alexandria, Aylesbury, Ayr, Barnsley, Biggleswade, Blackburn, Bolton, Brighton, Chester, Colchester, Dundee, Exeter, Grantham, Gravesend, Harrogate, Lincoln, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Paignton, Poole, Portsmouth, Rickmansworth, Runcorn, Southport, Stockton-on-Tees, Stoke-on-Trent, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sunbury-on-Thames, Swansea, Swindon, Widnes, Wigan, Worcester and York.

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 they have also just secured a further 80MHz of spectrum in Ofcom’s recent auction of the 700MHz and 3.6-3.8GHz bands (here). The extra spectrum should deliver improvements in data speeds and network coverage.

The new spectrum cost them a total of just £452 million to acquire (cheap compared to some prior auctions). In theory, this should leave EE with more money to invest into the rollout itself, but that must be tempered against the c.£500m cost of removing and replacing Huawei’s existing mobile infrastructure (here). The auction itself has yet to conclude and so it may be a while longer before we start to see any positive impacts.

Nevertheless, they’ve so far been able to deliver ultrafast speeds in many areas (c.100-150Mbps+ on average across the UK), and it’s hoped that the additional spectrum could pull them closer to the fabled gigabit-territory promised by 5G. The average download figure for 4G on EE is more like 33-39Mbps (here and here). Remember, we’re talking UK-wide averages here and not peak speeds.

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

“5G has many benefits, but the quality of the experience is top of the list. So, although it might have been used less than normal in the past year, investment in and improvements to our mobile network haven’t stopped during the pandemic.

As we look forward to a summer of unprecedented domestic tourism, we’ve added outdoor 5G coverage to some of the UK’s most popular tourist landmarks, historical sites, and coastal locations. We’ve switched on 5G in 35 new places, bringing the total to 160 UK towns and cities.

Once reopened, our customers can enjoy the increased capacity and faster speeds of our 5G network in iconic seaside locations including Brighton Pier, Paignton Sands and Swansea Bay, as well as popular city attractions, such as York Museum Gardens or around the V&A museum in Dundee. In fact, 75% of the top 20 towns and cities for domestic tourism now have 5G on EE, to support a better getaway for customers.”

In addition, EE is set to achieve the milestone of reaching 1 million active 5G customers – those with a 5G plan and a 5G-enabled device – this month. London, Birmingham and Manchester are the top three home cities of those using EE’s 5G network, followed by: Glasgow, Bristol, Nottingham, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds and Leicester.

Many of the new locations added today also include some of the top tourist landmarks and coastal locations, including Brighton Pier, York Minster, Swansea Bay and Sandbanks Beach. Otherwise, you can see a list of EE’s 125 existing 5G locations below. Just remember that the rollout in each area is ongoing and in some places 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.

The Previous 125 Live 5G Cities and Towns

• Aberdeen
• Birmingham
• Belfast
• Bath
• Bristol
• Cardiff
• Chelmsford
• Coventry
• Edinburgh
• Glasgow
• Hull
• Leicester
• Liverpool
• London
• Leeds
• Lichfield
• Lisburn
• Manchester
• Newcastle
• Nottingham
• Oxford
• Plymouth
• Salford
• Sheffield
• St Albans
• Stirling
• Sunderland
• Wakefield
• Wolverhampton

• Aldershot
• Altrincham
• Ashford
• Ashton-under-Lyne
• Barrhead
• Belshill
• Birkenhead
• Blackpool
• Borehamwood
• Bransholme
• Brentwood
• Burton-upon-Trent
• Bury
• Cannock
• Castleford
• Castlereagh
• Chatham
• Cheshunt
• Chesterfield
• Chester-le-Street
• Chorley
• Clevedon
• Clifton (Notts)
• Clydebank
• Crawley
• Cumbernauld
• Dartford
• Dinnington
• Doncaster
• Dudley
• Epsom
• Gillingham
• Grays
• Grimsby
• Guildford
• Halifax
• Hamilton
• Harlow
• Hoddesdon
• Huddersfield
• Ilkeston
• Inchinnan
• Ipswich
• Jarrow
• Kimberley
• Kingston-upon-Thames
• Leamington Spa
• Loughborough
• Loughton
• Maidstone
• Middlesbrough
• Milnrow
• Minster
• Mirfield
• Motherwell
• Neath
• Newton-le-Willows
• Northampton
• North Shields
• Nuneaton
• Oldham
• Paisley
• Pontefract
• Porthcawl
• Portishead
• Potters Bar
• Rochdale
• Rochester
• Romford
• Rotherham
• Rugeley (West Midlands)
• Shipley
• Solihull
• Southend-on-Sea
• South Shields
• Stafford
• Staines-upon-Thames
• Stevenage
• Stockport
• Sutton Coldfield
• Swadlincote
• Swinton
• Sydenham
• Tamworth
• Walsall
• West Bromwich
• Waltham Abbey
• Waltham Cross
• Walton-on-Thames
• Warwick
• Washington
• Watford
• Westhoughton
• Weston-Super-Mare
• Weybridge
• Wickford

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
21 Responses
  1. Chris Sayers says:

    In all honesty getting 5G where I live is unimportant, it’s where I can get it while out and about, what do you think ispreview readers.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Both for me. Having access to 5G at home provides for an excellent bit of extra redundancy when the fixed line goes down. In fact, it may become my primary. Meanwhile, I only really need 4G data when out of the house, where my demands are lower.

    2. Matt says:

      For me when out and about 4G is more than enough don’t really know what I would do with 5G speeds on my phone to be honest. On the other hand having 5G at home would be fantastic. Not gonna happen anytime soon though, I a, just happy to be getting FTTP later this year.

  2. Jamie says:

    Ee has some 5G coverage now in Carlisle, interestingly not on their website however 3 now show 5G on their coverage maps. I would assume the same coverage from both?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      The network sharing agreement between EE and Three UK doesn’t mean they both have equal 5G coverage, it doesn’t extend to that part of the kit. Three’s 5G roll-out is far behind EE and Vodafone, with very limited coverage.

    2. Wayne says:

      Where abouts, I’d love to try it, struggle to get 4g on West coast

  3. Danny says:

    Another town to be added Mark is Normanton in the Wakefield area as they share a mast with 3 mobile.

  4. Ringo says:

    Biggleswade but not Bedford.
    Lovely, all 5 residents of biggleswade will enjoy their 5G then.

    1. Stephen says:

      I am sure the people of Biggleswade (estimated population of 20,000 mid-2017) will be happy. I also hope the people of Bedford will be served soon.

    2. Rhys says:

      Ringo you’ve got the nail straight on the head there. I’ve been waiting for ages for them to announce Bedford and they go ahead and announce the small village next to It and MK. Hopefully this is a sign of what is to come and they’ll sort us out too.

    3. Ringo says:

      and Bedford has a population of over 100,000 and over 150,000 for the entire borough. Which is better served? A tiny little town with mostly older folk who probably don’t care for 5G, or a commuter town with 100k people in it ?

      EE are nuts. Vodafone doesn’t care. O2 and three made a pathetic effort of 1 mast…

  5. Tony Chapman says:

    I live in Spalding I get 4G only. But my speeds are 50-60mb indoors even more in my garden. No need for 5g.. Very happy with my service on 4G

  6. Sam says:

    Decent 4G is all I care for, FTTP would be nice too but 4G is quick enough when your out and about. Contention is the main issue at stadiums and arenas.

  7. Stephen Drew says:

    I can get 5g on EE in the Sholing area of Southampton I did not see this on your list.

    1. Greg says:

      That’s because up until today there were no active 5g ee masts in Southampton area.

      You were most likely getting signal from hedge end antena which technically is outside Southampton.

    2. Ringo says:

      EE don’t say an area has 5G until it has a certain amount of coverage.

  8. Ig Og says:

    With phone updates getting bigger, Xiaomi MIUI 12.5 being 4GB, fast internet becomes ever more important, so bring 5G on I say!

  9. Wayne says:

    4g would be nice or even a decent signal so I can make calls without using WiFi, I guess Cumbria is the forgotten land when it comes to technology

  10. Matt says:

    Not many towns beginning with T on the total list of places that have / are getting it! What’s wrong with poor Taunton?

  11. Neil Duffield says:

    Tunbridge Wells, I am disgusted at the coverage here…

  12. Dorathy says:

    We can’t even send a text where we are in Barrow on Humber.. We can only email or Watsapp.. Our coverage is non exist ant here..

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