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Some Smarty UK Customers Start Seeing 5G Mobile Connectivity

Thursday, July 8th, 2021 (12:01 am) - Score 2,952

A number of customers on mobile operator Smarty have this week reported being able to connect via an ultrafast 5G mobile (mobile broadband) signal for the first time, which started on Tuesday night and suggests that the operator is close to going live with the new service. But officially, they’re not quite ready yet.

Smarty, which is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) on Three UK’s platform, has made no secret of the fact that they intend to launch 5G services to complement their existing 4G services this year. But so far, they’ve declined to set a clear date.

However, one of our readers (credits Greg) recently informed us that 5G went live on his phone on Tuesday night, and we’ve spotted other examples on social media. In the latter case, one customer was told by Smarty’s support agent: “Your phone may occasionally pick up a 5G signal as we work towards its launch.” A spokesperson for the provider later told ISPreview.co.uk: “Once SMARTY supports 5G all over UK, we will inform our customers through notification.”

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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.
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23 Responses
  1. Carl O says:

    I’ve been able to use Smarty 5G for months.

    Strangely, and sadly, been spending more time annoyingly on 3G than anything else, and 4G dropped to almost nothing (less than 1mbps).

    I live on the edge of the 5G coverage area so can’t complain as it is intermittent, but the same mast location for EE, and EE sticks to 5G all the time.

    Hopefully the fixing masts in your area location on their coverage checker is an indication they’re rolling out further 5G masts in the area and I’d go smarty full time. 700mhz would be great, but not seen any 5G consumer cases on this yet.

    1. Lee says:

      I have the same problem in Chester, it seems three prefer to drop to 3G than band 20 4G. My 5G is also a bit flaky but I imagine that’s due to SMARTY not actually supporting it yet.

  2. Ig Og says:

    Here’s hoping, nothing yet…

  3. Rob says:

    So you don’t require a new sim for 5G? For any provider?

    1. Buggerlugz says:

      no, if your device is 5g capable it will switch to it automatically.

    2. Fabyon says:

      With O2 and I believe the MVNOs piggybacking on it ( I know Sky mobile is the same ) one needs to flick the proverbial switch to enable 5G on the sim. I don’t know about the other providers…

    3. Peza says:

      I think with EE you need a 5G SIM, or at least they do t allow you to turn on 5G without a 5G SIM, could be wrong though?

    4. Bubblesthefish6 says:

      You have to have a 5G SIM on Giffgaff but all new Sims they send out are 5G enabled anyways so work straight off the bat if you have a 5G Goodybag. If your SIM says on it 5Ggg2 or the like it’s 5G but if it says 4Ggg2 it’s 4G

    5. Gregowski says:


      They do not send a 5G one automatically. At least that wasn’t the case whan i got mine about 3weeks ago

  4. Buggerlugz says:

    Starting to See 5G Mobile Connectivity doesn’t not mean you’ll start to see “5g speeds”

    1. Lucian says:

      No, but it will bring great relief for those relying on the overworked 4G bands.

    2. Buggerlugz says:

      Might if the mast they’re connecting too has enough backhaul! Won’t be helping the upload though!

    3. Peza says:

      Let’s be real, no one on a phone needs 500mbps plus speeds. but I don’t see any reason why Smarty 5G won’t bring 80mbps or so. And as it won’t be in the congested 4G it should work quite well.
      In my tests EE are the only ones who are capable of sustaining good 4G speeds, everyone else fluctuates a LOT. But they don’t have 3G speeds worth mentioning, that’s where Smarty is good. You can use 3G with good speeds and coverage at all times.

    4. Buggerlugz says:

      Pezza, I don’t see any reason why anyone shouldn’t get 80mbps with 4g personally, let alone 5g.

    5. Peza says:

      Buggerlugz, yes you can, but rarely does anyone actually get 80 on 4G. Bless your stood still in a particular place. Moving around you won’t get 80 everywhere. But it’s more then good enough for most mobile use, it’s different if your talking about tethering laptops or using it for home broadband, but then your not using your phone. I used to download a gig or more with that Damon Mario Kart game quite happily at work at around 30mbps. Games consoles happily manage to download 150gig games with Call Of dairy over 70mbps connections.
      These are specific examples, but for a normal phone on it’s own, it really doesn’t need 500mbps for social media, web browsing, gaming or emails and text.

    6. Gary says:

      This is because time and time again you have shown your ignorance on how 4G actually works in the real world. You continue to post the same claptrap in article after article claiming the issue is simply backhaul, it isn’t just this.

      How do you propose that everyone should get 80mbps? Do you not realise each radio frequency band is limited in the spectrum allocated – which direcly correlates to how much throughput it can provide in total? This throughput is shared by everyone connected to that cell. Each cell site will likely have 3 to 4 cells, however in the main the number of cells is irrelevant as each cell points in different direction (so isn’t accessible for use when in a static position).

      Three mainly use bands 3, 1 & 20 for 4G. They do have some cells with band 32 active (but not a significant proportion).

      Band 3 = 112.5mbps throughput @ 15mhz
      Band 1 = 75mbps throghput @ 10mhz
      Band 20 = 37.5mbps throughput @ 5mhz

      Most people have devices that are only joining two of these bands by carrier aggregation, but lets assume all three of these bands are joined as a best case. This gives a theortetical maximum of 225mpbs. Now share this total is shared with the hundreds of people that could be connected to it. Thus it’s obvious to see why 80mbps isn’t going to be possible without either more cell sites and/or more spectrum or artifically limiting supply with higher prices (like EE do).

      If there are 3 cells at a cell site then the maximum throughput needed would be 787mbps, thus the common sized 1gbps connection to the cell is easily enough to cope with this and thus increasing backhaul makes no difference.

  5. Ig Og says:

    With software updates for a phone coming in at over 3GB, a fast connection is necessary.
    SMARTY has been saying 5G is coming for ages. I use SMARTY for tethering so yes 5G is an essential feature.

  6. Christine Axford says:

    I want a landline at20victoria road bude EX23 8RJ

    1. Ig Og says:


  7. grimreaper says:

    We have only had 4G for about 5 months, and even now it rarely goes above 2Mbps. I hope i’m still alive to witness the arrival of 5G here in around 2065, I may even get to see 10Mbps.

  8. Jackster says:

    Been able to briefly get 5G for a few months on Smarty. When I say briefly I mean turn airplain mode on and off and I got it for about 60 seconds, sometimes.

    Managed 450/15mbps when it worked.
    Quite good but when you get 4G CA with band 32, 20 and 3, I was getting 240/40mbps it feels less impressing.
    It is basically what what promised out of 4G years ago but they never got the spectrum to deliver it or the technology/back haul upgrade.
    Makes me think that 5G might see the se fate at least in sub 6GHz.

    Shame it is being dicked by the 4G carrier upload. Can’t get my head around why 5G is just not stand alone from the get go. Guess they make more money this way as it is another upgrade in 5-6 years time?

    It is quite obvious that three UK are purposefully restricting 5G on SMARTY to get more people on their main net as prices are at least £10 more for unlimited pay monthly or the se with contract. Luckily few that get it I envy xD

    1. Ig Og says:

      Webchatted to SMARTY CS today and they confirmed they’re testing 5G now. Fingers crossed.

  9. John says:

    iDmobile are now on 5G which uses Three and yet Smarty which is owned by Three are still playing games

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