Mobile network provider EE, has today switched on nine trial sites for 5G technology across east London, in addition to an existing test site in Canary Wharf.
These include spots such as Provost Street, City Road, Central Street, Old Street, Cheapside, St Paul's, Finsbury Circus, Clerkenwell Street and Bartholomew Square.
EE, which is owned by BT, said upgrading from existing 4G infrastructure was made easier by being able to repurpose existing antennae. However other challenges arose, including strengthening rooftop sites for new equipment which can weigh up to 50kg.
"Deploying this brand new layer of our EE mobile network is far from straightforward, and this trial has helped us to understand – and learn how to overcome – the significant challenges that we’ll face in the coming year," said Howard Watson, BT's chief technology and innovation officer.
"We're also learning about the coverage we can achieve with 5G new radio on our new 3.4GHz spectrum, both indoors and in densely cluttered streets."
Businesses and Londoners across the nine sites are invited to join the 5G trial, primarily as an alternative to fixed broadband rather than on mobile phones.
The news follows an announcement by rival provider Three, which today said it will invest more than £2bn into the technology.
As part of the upgrade, Three has acquired the UK's largest 5G spectrum portfolio and equipment. It hopes to roll out the service to customers in the second half of next year.