While 5G coverage has been crawling in the U.S., it’s taking off in Europe, particularly in London, The Verge says.
The company EE turned on the United Kingdom’s first 5G network late last month, making it available across London, Ednbirgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, and Manchester. Coverage is also accessible in major tourist spots across London, too, like St. Paul’s, Covent Garden, and other places.
While spending time outside in some of these destinations, end users saw up to a 10x more improvements from 4G networks, according to The Verge; on average, folks saw around 200 Mbps on 5G, instead of 25 Mbps on 4G. The best-recorded speed was about 510 Mbps, located close to Covent Garden during lunchtime.
The Verge said that once 5G is more fully implemented, it will be a game changer for end users. For example, 5G will open up “the ability for new applications, cloud streaming of 4K and above content, cloud game streaming, augmented reality games beyond even Minecraft Earth, and much more. There’s even talk of everything from your dishwasher to a lamp post being connected up to 5G, but the near-term practical benefits will allow you to work anywhere reliably.”
The bugs to be aware of:
While the benefits of 5G are apparent, there are clear downsides and bugs to the new network, too.
For example, The Verge says that the UK 5G implementation isn’t seeing faster uploads; in fact, the upload speed is the same as 4G networks, at about 33 Mbps. EE promises to add 100 cell sites per month to boost slower download speeds, but no promises have been made about upload speeds.
The network also played a role in device battery drainage. An author from The Verge said that upon testing his device on the UK’s 5G network on certain apps for a few hours in one day, the battery life dropped “from 50 percent to nothing on just speed tests alone.”
Finally, The Verge anticipates that end users will see a challenge with data pricing regarding 5G networks. For example, EE’s 5G plans start at about $68 per month for 10GB of data, rising to $93 per month for 120 GB of data. This is especially risky for those who are eager to hop on the network first, The Verge says: “With faster speeds, it’s far easier to be tempted to use a 5G connection with your laptop and start downloading far more data like you would on a home fiber connection. You could realistically use 120GB of data within minutes, making 5G an expensive gamble for early adopters.”