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5G Network Reach Grows in the UK with Several New Cities Gaining Access

February 04, 2020 by Luke James

Sky Mobile is the latest British network to take the inevitable plunge and bring 5G connectivity to UK customers.

The availability of 5G in the UK has grown once more as Sky Mobile announced its launch of 5G network connectivity in mid-January. 5G is available across a range of cities and towns across the UK, some large and some small, including London (of course!), Edinburgh, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester, Bradford, and Slough. 

Sky’s launch of 5G makes its mobile network the sixth one to take a step up in the UK, and allow its customers to benefit from higher speeds and reduced latency. The other networks that have already launched 5G are EE, BT, Three, Vodafone, and O2

 

A graph listing the UK cities which have 5G network access.

A graph detailing the UK cities that have access to the Sky Mobile 5G network. Image used courtesy of 5G.co.UK.

 

Available Across a Select Range of Towns and Cities

Following the case of other UK mobile networks offering 5G, Sky’s availability is limited to most major cities and a handful of smaller cities and towns. 

At the time of writing, Sky’s 5G network connectivity is available in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Leeds, Slough, Leicester, Lisburn, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle, Bradford, Sheffield, Coventry, Nottingham, Norwich, Bristol, Derby and Stoke. Outside of these areas, Sky’s 5G mobile connectivity will not be available. 

 

Limitations to Consumers Using Sky Mobile's Network

The launch of Sky’s 5G network does not mean all customers are going to be able to access it, though. To benefit from 5G, users need to have a 5G-enabled phone that is used in conjunction with a 5G-enabled SIM card. At the moment, there are only a few phones that are 5G enabled, however, this is likely to grow throughout the year as many vendors bring their latest and fully-fledged 5G devices to market, such as Samsung with the Galaxy S20. 

If you are a Sky customer wanting to access 5G right now, you will need to use a Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G, or Samsung Galaxy A90 5G handset. You will also need to be a Sky VIP customer to be eligible for the free upgrade from 4G to 5G. Other 5G handsets have been brought to market – the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G, for example – but these are not available on Sky Mobile. 

 

5G Adoption is Finally Underway

With several new 5G-enabled devices expected to launch this year, mobile providers launching their 5G networks, and the UK government confirming plans to safeguard the country’s telecoms network, it seems as though we are full speed ahead towards adopting 5G for good. And with 4G networks in major cities beginning to show their strain, particularly during peak times and busy periods, the promises of faster download speeds, more reliable connections, and lower latency are most welcome. 

Consumers should be cautious to not count their chickens just yet, however. 5G and 5G networks are still in their infancy and are nowhere near to delivering their full potential. Recent speed tests found that EE’s average 5G network speed maxed out at 550Mbps, but spotty coverage resulted in speeds averaging 200Mbps-400Mbps.

While the launch of Sky’s 5G (and other 5G) networks is good news for the UK, there is still a long road ahead before speedy and seamless 5G networks are reliable enough to be and can be used for routine or day-to-day networking use.