5G adoption is robust in the UK and the technology’s adoption is forecasted to reach over 26% of total mobile subscriptions by 2024, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
EE was the first network to launch 5G in the UK, but two other networks have since launched their 5G strategies to try and make it to the top spot.
Lorenzo Solazzo, Technology Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “During the 5G City Tour (#5GGearUp) organized by Huawei, network operator 3UK showcased its new 5G strategy to compete with other telecommunication operators (telecos). The firm was the third operator to launch 5G in the UK, after EE and Vodafone. 3UK will continue the rollout of 5G to 24 additional cities throughout the UK by Q4 2019.”
Initially, 3UK is focusing on the ‘Plug and Play’ 5G home broadband, challenging the fixed broadband market by claiming to offer higher speeds at a relatively low cost with no waiting time for the installation.
Solazzo adds: “The network currently offers 5G home broadband for £35 per month on a 12-month plan without an upfront cost and with optional same-day delivery. The telco is also targeting small and medium enterprises to strengthen its position in the vertical market.”
At the 5G City Tour, 3UK demonstrated its download speeds by recording 5G speeds of 301Mbps and 14 milliseconds of latency at its flagship store in Oxford Street, London. The operator advertises its 5G as ‘Real 5G’ due to its unique position in the UK to offer 100MHz continuous bandwidth, which is ideal for 5G services and results in higher obtainable speeds.
In contrast to 3UK, EE and Vodafone have focused on the 5G adoption across the smartphone market and have already covered six and 15 cities, respectively.
EE’s 5G strategy focuses on bundling the technology with value-added services (VAS). For instance, the company offers 5G on a SIM-only plan (12-month contract) with unlimited data for £44 that comprises three ‘Swappable Benefits’ allowing users to interchange between six VAS options including free roaming to certain countries, unlimited data usage for video, music, gaming and/or unlimited access to media content such as Amazon Prime Video and BT Sport. Furthermore, the telco offers a wide range of 5G phones such as the OPPO Reno for £44 per month on a 24-month contract, which includes 10GB of data and two Swappable Benefits.
Vodafone offers 5G at no extra cost for mobile costumers. However, the company focuses on monetizing the new technology by offering plans with varying maximum download speeds. For instance, its SIM-only 12-month contract plans with unlimited data varies in price from £23 to £30, with maximum speeds ranging from 2Mbps, to the maximum speed available (up to 1Gbps).
Solazzo concludes: “While GlobalData expects increasing competition in the UK, telcos appear to have shaped their 5G strategies to target different costumer segments. EE is focusing on relatively higher-end packages, while Vodafone has to offer 5G based on a range of speeds tailored to customer requirements and Three is currently challenging the fixed broadband market. However, the market landscape may change when O2, the second-largest mobile operator, will join the market in October 2019.”