Sky Mobile has finally launched 5G with an initial roll-out covering 21 locations across the UK.
Sky piggybacks on O2’s system as it doesn’t have its own infrastructure, leaving it lagging behind rivals Vodafone and EE, which have 50 and 37 locations respectively.
But by now offering customers the option to access the ultra-fast mobile broadband, it leaves just Three as the only major supplier without 5G tariffs for mobile phones.
Some of the locations now supported by Sky 5G include Derby, Leicester and Stoke, as well as the UK’s largest cities.
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Many towns and cities now have some form of 5G connectivity available – through one of the major network service providers
Some of the locations now supported by Sky 5G include Derby, Leicester and Stoke, as well as the UK’s largest cities (pictured)
Sky says its VIP users will upgrade to 5G for free, but regular customers will have to splash out an extra £5 on a monthly basis for access.
However, customers can upgrade to Sky VIP at no extra cost, avoiding any extra fees.
‘We’re excited to be launching superfast 5G on the award-winning Sky Mobile network, and even more excited to be offering it free to all Sky VIP customers,’ said Sky Mobile’s Paul Sweeney.
‘Sky Mobile is the ideal choice for anyone who wants a faster mobile connection and great value.’
The list of destinations includes some smaller cities and towns, but is still infuriatingly unobtainable for people on the outskirts and in rural areas.
WHAT IS SKY VIP?
Sky VIP is a loyalty scheme that rewards long-term customers.
It is free to join and provides perks to customers.
To upgrade to Sky VIP, go to the My Sky app, log in with the unique Sky ID and tap the VIP button.
This will automatically upgrade the user to VIP for free.
It also adds the 5G add-on to the user’s account.
Sky says its VIP platform also provides customers with the chance to get access to exclusive screenings and sports events.
Sky vows to expand its 5G coverage to at least 50 locations by the summer.
Sky offers the ability for customers to check to see if their home region is covered by 5G and if upgrading is worth it its own online tool.
However, recent analysis reveals these coverage checkers can not necessarily be trusted.
The Local Government Association (LGA) found earlier this month these sites, which are used by millions of Britons every year, are misleading customers.
The LGA says that network operators rely on computer modelling to tell people what the coverage in a specific location is.
Sky piggybacks O2’s system as it doesn’t have its own infrastructure, leaving it lagging behind rivals Vodafone and EE, with 50 and 37 locations, respectively
5G is expected to be up to 1,000 times faster than the currently used network standard, 4G
WHAT IS 5G AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
The evolution of the G system started in 1980 with the invention of the mobile phone which allowed for analogue data to be transmitted via phone calls.
Digital came into play in 1991 with 2G and SMS and MMS capabilities were launched.
Since then, the capabilities and carrying capacity for the mobile network has increased massively.
More data can be transferred from one point to another via the mobile network quicker than ever.
5G is expected to be 100 times faster than the currently used 4G.
Whilst the jump from 3G to 4G was most beneficial for mobile browsing and working, the step to 5G will be so fast they become almost real-time.
That means mobile operations will be just as fast as office-based internet connections.
Potential uses for 5g include:
- Simultaneous translation of several languages in a party conference call
- Self-driving cars can stream movies, music and navigation information from the cloud
- A full length 8GB film can be downloaded in six seconds.
5G is expected to be so quick and efficient it is possible it could start the end of wired connections.
By the end of 2020, industry estimates claim 50 billion devices will be connected to 5G.
The evolution of from 1G to 5G. The predicted speed of 5G is more than 1Gbps – 1,000 times greater than the existing speed of 4G and could be implemented in laptops of the future
Boris Johnson promised to make poor mobile phone signal a thing of the past if the Tories won the general election but many parts of the UK are still black-spots for service and internet. Pictured, rural areas where 4G is scarce (green and white)
But these can be inaccurate and overly generous, with many customers receiving less reliable service than they were promised.
Specific information about who is in reach of the 5G masts is one issue facing customers debating whether to upgrade, but many people are also stuck with archaic connectivity.
A recent Ofcom report discovered more than 50,000 homes are stuck with mediocre broadband and 4G, let alone 5G.
It also found that 610,000 UK homes and businesses suffer without a ‘reasonable connection’, defined as a download speed of at least 10 Mbps.
In contrast, 5G offers download speeds of upwards of 500mbps.
Sky’s plans start at £28 a month for its lowest spec handset for two years with a measly 3GB of monthly data.
3GB of data on a 5G tariff could be expended in a matter of days, leaving the customer without internet or needing to splash out on costly top-ups.
Therefore, the most viable option for most will cost £36 (Samsung Galaxy A90 5G, 24 months) and give 9GB of data.
If it is a high or mid-level specification handset on a one-year contract you are after, monthly expenditure will range from £59 – £71 a month.
Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at uSwitch.com, said: ‘This announcement by Sky Mobile is great news for its customers, and gives another boost to 5G across the UK.
‘The network is offering 5G without an extra charge to customers on its Sky VIP loyalty programme, which is a free perk for existing users.
‘If you are a Sky Mobile user, you may want to upgrade to the 9GB plan costing £12 a month, as 5G is going to guzzle data.
‘Sky Mobile promises to offer 5G in 50 UK destinations by the summer, which will help encourage users to switch to the new technology.
‘Mobile phone users have taken time to warm to 5G, but the fifth-generation technology is slowly starting to build to a critical mass that could draw in the crowds.’
WHERE ARE THE WORST PLACES FOR 4G & BROADBAND IN THE UK?
According to consumer rights advocate Which?, Scotland and Wales suffer the most from both poor broadband connections and limited 4G coverage.
Also notably impacted were constituencies made up predominantly of urban areas — including parts of Canterbury, Macclesfield, Maidstone, Norfolk, Southampton, Surrey and York.
These were joined by many seaside towns — including Dover, Cleethorpes, Great Yarmouth, Scarborough, Totnes and Whitby.
The Highlands and Islands were the most affected parts of Scotland, with the constituency of Na h-Eileanan an lar most poorly provided for with only 42 per cent of properties covered by all four network operators and only 81 per cent having a decent broadband connection.
In Wales, the constituency of Dwyfor Meirionnydd was worst off, with only 69 per cent of premises having 4G coverage from all four network operators and only 91 per cent having a decent broadband connection.
Meanwhile, Northern Island was also poorly served — especially in urban areas — with Armagh and Newry worst hit, with only 82 per cent of premises.
According to consumer rights advocate Which?, Scotland and Wales suffer the most from both poor broadband connections and limited 4G coverage
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