LONDON: Britain’s O2 mobile phone network, owned by Spain’s Telefonica is set to launch next generation 5G services in October. The service will be live in 20 towns and cities by the end of the year and in 50 by next summer.
Rivals EE and Vodafone have recently started 5G services, and Hutchison’s Three is set to follow in August.
London, Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London and Slough will be the first locations to benefit from the services, O2 said.
Customers need to buy 5G compatible smartphones to use the ultrafast services, which typically currently offer speeds 20 times faster than 4G.
O2 and Vodafone on Wednesday agreed to extend their network sharing agreement to help speed up the deployment of 5G.
The deal enables the companies to share equipment, such as radio antennas, on joint network sites across the UK.
The companies will have autonomy to install their own equipment at 25% of the sites while sharing the mast.
In addition, they said they would press ahead with exploring potential monetization options for the joint venture, such as potential third-party investors.