back to article EE switches on 5G: Oi, where are your Mates? Yes, we mean the Huawei phones

UK mobile firm EE unveiled a lineup of launch devices this morning for when it flicks the switch on 5G services in six British cities, with one notable absence: Huawei. The Chinese firm's 5G-compatible Mate X and Mate 20 X were bundled into many an EE publicity bumpf prior to today's launch - and it seems some still received …

  1. Cuddles

    Bit of a crap deal

    "Prices for the 5G plans range from £54/month for 10GB of data, to £74/month for 120GB. SIM-only plans are pegged at £32/month for 20GB data, up to £52/month for 100GB."

    And here I am with unlimited data (and calls and texts) for £20/month. What kind of idiot would pay over £50/month for a contract with any kind of limits on it, especially when you're not actually going to see any useful 5G for years at best. Sure, 100GB is far more than most people actually need in a month, but having a limit at all at that kind of price is just nuts.

    1. -teacup ordinance

      Re: Bit of a crap deal

      by that definition, everyone in Canada is an idiot ( and I'm not arguing that point )

      standard cost for smart phone plan with 6 Gig data per month is $100. coverage is spotty and speed is crap.

      and no competition in sight.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Bit of a crap deal

        Second largest country in the world when measured in km^2. Nowhere near the top of the table when measured in number of people. I guess that makes it more expensive than in the UK.

      2. CountCadaver

        Re: Bit of a crap deal

        Thats funny - Telus, Bell and Rogers all run mobile networks in its not lack of competition it sounds more like a price fixing agreement between the networks.....the old "gentlemans agreement" at work....

    2. Phil Kingston

      Re: Bit of a crap deal

      But, but you'll be able to download a movie in "seconds"!

      True, for the rest of the month you'll be capped at whatever they decide, but that initial download will be SWEET

      1. TheVogon

        Re: Bit of a crap deal

        "But, but you'll be able to download a movie in "seconds"!"

        And more importantly, be able to real-time stream multi-angle 8K porn with an Atmos soundtrack!

    3. JetSetJim

      Re: Bit of a crap deal

      And if the 1Gbps data rate is to be believed/achieved, how quickly can that allowance of data be used up with a quick tether and injudicious Linux ISO torrent

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Bit of a crap deal

        I have a friend on 1Gbps fibre (B4RN). When he got it installed he pissed me off by complaining he was only getting 760Meg. He is a uni prof who does massive data processing and rather than drive into the office he can now do this at home but rarely gets near needing full capacity as even streaming files onto a massive parallel machine doesnt need that kind of bandwidth.

        The only 'personal' use I can think of for 5G would be sharing over the whole village should a desperate deal become available!

        1. JetSetJim

          Re: Bit of a crap deal

          One of the primary drivers of 5G is just this use-case, beam-formed residential broadband services.

    4. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Bit of a crap deal

      Also what baffles me is that the keep saying 5G will help the IOTs but presumably that would only mean each IOT device would need 5G and all the updates and security maintenance that entails. Surely the sensible thing would be for your fridge to be behind your home firewall so you dont need 5G for it at all. I reckon my fridge only needs 10**-60 baud anyway.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bit of a crap deal

      of course it is. and, you'll probably get 10mbits too and they'll say oh we need to tune it or teething issues or it's this excuse or that one .. but we all know it's a bit daft to sign up to 5G right now .. you'd do it only to show off not because you "need" it.

      I remember when EE said they were bringing out 100mbit+ 4G ... and to this day i've still not seen it apart from once in St Pancras station.

      Not even slightly interested in 5G at this point, beyond academic interest.

    6. VulcanV5

      Re: Bit of a crap deal

      I remember the day my then nextdoor neighbour was given a so-called 'mobile phone' by his employer. This would be somewhere around 1986, I think. The only reason I knew my neighbour had something no-one else did in our street (and was therefore, possibly, a Very Important Person) was because he was standing at the point where his driveway joined the road and so if anyone happened to look out their front window, they'd see him there, conversing with what appeared to be a small brick held to his ear. As I have no interest in exploring the state of someone else's mental health, I didn't say anything to him about his odd behaviour, but mentioned it the following weekend 'over the garden hedge'. He informed me he was using A Mobile Phone (something that works without wires, yeah?) but which, mystifyingly, didn't have "good reception" (nor did the tacky hotel around the corner from where we lived at that time) and so he had no alternative but to stand out there on his drive to make and receive calls. I suggested he maybe walk a bit further to the nearby red GPO phone box if he felt in need of exercise.) For at least a week, he was to be seen at the bottom of his drive. When a family friend dropped by one evening and happened to espy him, she asked my wife if there was something wrong with him. My wife said oh, he's harmless enough: one of those deluded blokes with a very small brick which they like to wave around in hope of impressing people.

      We've long since moved from that neighbourhood. I do wonder though what other men with small bricks will do to show how important (and/or how stupid) they are that they can afford to throw loadsa money away on 5G.

  2. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Let me be the first to say "Who bloody cares?" and the classic oft repeated (but still correct and relevant) "Sort 2G/3G/4G coverage out first!".

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Agree wholeheartedly Martin.

      Too many "not spots" as soon as you get to less populated areas. UK is a small country (in comparison to others) govt should mandate all areas of UK get basic call, text and data coverage before twatting about with pie in the sky 5G (dont see 4G in lots of places I go)

      Those prices are really taking the piss


        2 good things about 5G

        it actually makes the operators think about their radio frequency and coverage

        that means actually planning how they are going to ditch 2G and refarm the frequency... typically 3G gets a slice of the lower frequency (goes further) so those with 3G handsets get more coverage.

        the real A-LTE then gets more bandwidth also so again you get more coverage

        5G is nothing more and nothing less than a solution for the "last mile" rather than those bell wires that BT rents you can now actually bypass them and connect your house on a multigigabit connection without having to dig the road between you and the exchange up !

        plus finally we can ditch all that silly 3G infrastructure and move to a IP based network and everything becomes infinitely easier to manage. 3G becomes legacy and the speed is delivered via LTE and 5G handsets with the network not being forced to have capacity on 3G frequency.

        1. tip pc Silver badge

          Re: 2 good things about 5G

          absolutely spot on.

          its hard to believe so many people on a tech site don't see that.

          i always wonder why OFCOM are beating BT up so much about last mile when BT really doesn't care about residential last mile as they purchased EE to do exactly that. That's also why VodaFone got back into broadband and Sky got into mobile.

          The short term future is wirelless access and long term each device will connect direct to a carrier without needing to connect to a home router.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      New technology roll-out should begin with the rural areas with no usable coverage. Then progress to the cities.

      Very easy for them to lose interest in continuing the spread when there's diminishing returns on the infrastructure investment.

      1. sal II

        There is not enough paying customers/demand for it in rural areas for RoI, The only way to achieve better coverage in rural areas is government subsidy/incentive or requirement tied to the licensing of the spectrum to provide cover there.

        Until then there is no economic case of investing in better infrastructure by private companies.

        1. localzuk Silver badge

          Easy, make it like Royal Mail - you want to offer letter services? You've gotta deliver *everywhere*.

          You want to deliver mobile phone services? You've gotta provide coverage *everywhere*.

          1. cosymart


            The 64M$ question....... When?

          2. Cynical user

            The coverage obligations that come with EE's ESN contract aren't far short ;-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        nah. how about people don't live in the middle of nowhere and then demand the rest of the country subsidise broadband for them. No sympathy. Wants to live in middle of nowhere, wants broadband internet ... idiots.

        1. localzuk Silver badge

          @AC you don't like food then? Farms are generally "in the middle of nowhere", and the people who work them live relatively nearby.

          Hell, if you go around my area, you'll find not-spots in relatively populated towns and villages, so your argument falls completely flat.

      3. Commswonk

        @ AC: New technology roll-out should begin with the rural areas with no usable coverage.

        And it must incorporate proper installation standards as well. If the caption under the picture in the article is correct, that that really is an EE 5G installation then a few cable ties on the coax cable from the GPS aerial wouldn't come amiss; the whole thing looks as though it has been thrown together with little attention to good installation practice.

        And I assume that we are talking about the same EE that has so far failed to get the ESN working, with no obvious prospect of a breakthrough on the horizon.

        I wonder if it is spreading its engineering skills a little too thinly for anything to be done properly.

    3. Cynical user

      @Martin - the only problem with that argument is that until the whole country has 100% geographic coverage, technology stalls.

  3. 0laf

    Is there actually much demand from punters for this?

    I don't think I've ever heard anyone who isn't involved in the telco business saying that they either want or need this.

    Is this really aimed at B2B or M2M or something other than 'umans that think they need to stream 4k videos on tiny screens?

    1. tmTM

      Re: Is there actually much demand from punters for this?

      The ones with a genuine demand for it will be the ones who are least likely to access the service, those in rural or isolated locations with terrible coverage.

      It'll be a nice gimmick for those in city centres, for the occasional times when they're not on Wi-Fi anyway.

  4. M7S


    Is this playing a simple card game with a mythical beast, prominent in Chinese lore and sometimes used to signify that country, or poking it until it loses its temper?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great news

    I think this is amazing news, I can use up my 10Gb(£50) data allowance 100 times faster.

    Perhaps they are hopping by speeding things up there will then be more than one born every minute

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge

    With this pricing they are really spoiling us

    Just like the heady days of 3G.

    One day they'll realise they're not making any money and the prices will have to come down.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "non-standalone" ?

    "The first-wave non-standalone 5G services are built on top of EE's 4G network"

    So is it 5G but with very limited coverage because it's piggy-backing on 4G infrastructure and only available in specific sites, or is just 4G with new branding? What's going to be the difference in phase 2, are they going to be replacing antennas with new hardware? If you can get 5G by just jumping in on a 4G network wouldn't that be the quickest option for deployment?

    Genuine questions, I'm just trying to understand this.

    1. fitzpat

      Re: "non-standalone" ?

      There's two parts to any 3g/4g/5g mobile network, the radio side, and the core side.

      It's mostly backwards compatible, so this NSA 5G means the radio side is genuinely using 5G frequencies, but connecting to the 4G core. I can't comment if the mooted low latency characteristic of 5g is affected.

  8. Santa from Exeter


    Quote -

    "This was "a move that makes sense for now," added the analyst who said a lot of uncertainty surrounded 5G in light of the recent security concerns engulfing Huawei."

    This was "a move that makes sense for now," added the analyst who said a lot of uncertainty surrounded 5G in light of the US Trade War against Chine engulfing Huawei.


  9. zb42

    I'm reminded of the launch of WAP phones twenty years ago. At the time, I found it baffling that Cellnet spent very large amounts of money on something that a typical person played with for ten minutes and concluded was rubbish and too expensive.

    I have since accepted that it is just a normal consequence of human nature that the people in charge of things are usually clueless nitwits.

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