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Three switches 5G network on in the UK – how to get ultra-fast speeds today

THREE has fired up its 5G network in the UK – though it's not available on your phone just yet.

The mobile carrier is switching on its 5G powered home broadband service today in London, giving customers in the capital hyper-fast home internet speeds.

Three, which joins EE and Vodafone in a growing list of UK carriers offering 5G plans, has promised to switch on its network in 25 towns and cities by the end of 2019.

It will cover major centres including London, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester, bringing speeds "at least twice as fast" as their rivals, according to Three.

In London, Three's 5G broadband is now available in a very limited selection of areas - Camden, Camberwell and Southwark.

That group will expand to include Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets in the next couple of weeks, the carrier told Pocket-lint.

Three is launching the service with a single £35-a-month plan that offers "truly unlimited" access on a one-year contract.

The firm promises the plan – which uses a Huawei router to deliver your internet – will give you "fibre-like speeds".

You also get the added benefit of not requiring an engineer to come and set up your broadband, as you can simply plug the box into the wall yourself and start using it.

Chief executive Dave Dyson said: "Three’s 5G is going to revolutionise the home broadband experience. No more paying for landline rental, no more waiting for engineers, and even a same day delivery option.

"It really is the straightforward plug and play broadband that customers have been waiting for."

It's not clear precisely when Three's 5G network will work on your mobile in London – or anywhere else for that matter.

In addition to the capital, Three has promised to launch 5G in: Bolton, Birmingham, Bristol, Bradford, Reading, Liverpool, Rotherham, Glasgow, Slough, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Leeds, Brighton, Manchester, Coventry, Cardiff, Derby, Hull, Middlesborugh, Leicester, Milton Keynes, Wolverhampton, Sunderland and Nottingham.

These cities are expected to get access to Three's 5G network before the end of 2019.

5G is the "fifth generation" of mobile internet, and introduces significantly faster download speeds.

Early tests by The Sun on EE's network have revealed speeds in central London of around 400Mbps (megabits per second).

That's in contrast to typical 4G speeds, which would usually fall around 20Mbps to 50Mbps.

5G internet – what is it?

Here’s what you need to know...

But Three says it's the only network provider that can give a 'true' 5G experience because it is apparently the only company that will give UK customers 100MHz of 5G spectrum, which is how the global standards body on 5G technology describes 5G.

Three has said that from the launch date "peak mobile speeds will be at least 2x faster than other mobile network operators and will provide a more reliable connection and experience for customers".

It's the only network offering 5G to all of its customers at "no extra cost", meaning 4G users can enjoy the new service at the same price they are currently paying.

The only two other networks currently offering 5G, Vodafone and EE, both charge around £50 a month for their 5G plans.

O2 is launching its 5G network in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Slough and Leeds in October, with Sky promising to have its own network live in 50 cities by summer 2020.

UK consumers are expected to use 13 times more mobile data in 2025 than today and 5G is intended to cope with this extra demand.

The nationwide upgrade has come with its fair share of controversy.

Its snaking network of masts and cables uses technology from Huawei, a Chinese tech titan that found itself embroiled in a spy scandal earlier this year.

The US has warned that the Chinese government could intercept British communications sent through Huawei masts, sparking an angry cabinet row.

However, government security experts recently advised then-Prime Minister Theresa May that it would be safe to allow Huawei to help with the network.

Lewis Hamilton switches on Vodafone's 5G network giving Brits ‘fastest mobile speeds ever’

We reveal the 5G phones you can already buy in the UK today.

It's also possible that Apple might launch the iPhone 11 with support for 5G later this year.

And the rumoured Sony Xperia XZ4 has also been tipped as a major 5G contender.

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