EE starts national 5G rollout in Shoreditch

Old Street, one of the first 5G trial sites. (Credit: Charlie Wood)

Businesses and local residents in Shoreditch and Hoxton are being invited by mobile operator EE to join a trial, in which they will use 5G as an alternative to their fixed broadband.

The trial covers nine sights including Provost Street, City Road, Central Street, Old Street, Cheapside, St Paul’s, Finsbury Circus Garden, Clerkenwell Street and Bartholomew Square.

EE told the Hackney Post that the trial – which went live on 7 November – has so far encompassed “every element” of building a new 5G network. The trial will also go on to assess the customer experience of the new 5G spectrum.

5G aims to provide a number of improvements for customers, including a higher data rate, reduced energy consumption, and reduced latency.

Jeff Tenner, a barman at The Craft Beer Co on Old Street, said that “although it may be a hard sell initially, [5G] will be embraced”.

He added: “People might ask why we need 5G, and think it’s not super necessary. But everyone’s doing things fast these days, and I think once it becomes widespread, people will treat it as normal. The fact five is a bigger number than four [as in 4G] also helps!”

While EE admits it cannot predict how successful 5G will be, it considers the trial useful.

Howard Watson, Chief Technology Innovation Officer of EE’s parent company, BT, said: “Deploying [5G] is far from straightforward, and this trial will help us to understand – and learn how to overcome – the significant challenges that we’ll face in the coming years.”

On November 14, EE extended its 5G trials to sites in Manchester, Cardiff and Birmingham.