As 5G broadband dominates the tech headlines, it seems the days of fixed line broadband may be numbered. But is 5G really a viable alternative? How much faster is it than fibre broadband? What equipment do you need? How much will it cost? Here’s everything you need to know…
Having already rolled-out across parts of the UK, 5G promises eye-wateringly-fast speeds as well as super connectivity.
What you might not realise, though, is that some of the biggest networks in the UK already offer 5G as an alterative to fixed-line broadband.
Let’s take a look…
Is 5G speed faster than regular broadband?
In short, yes. A lot faster.
In fact, experts reckon you’ll be able to download HD movies in seconds and even stream 8K video to your phone. Average speed predicted is between 80Mbps and 100Mbps. Bear in mind, as with other broadband, you might not get these speeds exactly.
Another great perk is you won’t need any cables or wires And there’ll be no extra charge for engineer call-outs either.
So far so good.
Who currently offers 5G home broadband?
Three launched a 5G home broadband service in August 2019.
Currently, it’s only available in London and, according to Three, offers 100Mbit/s download speeds. It costs £35 per month and comes with a 12-month contract.
At the time of writing, Vodafone and EE also offers 5G home internet in London. More on that below.
Other ISP’s (internet service providers) set to launch 5G home broadband include O2, which recently announced that it will launch its 5G broadband before the end of September. Watch this space.
What equipment do I need to get Three 5G broadband?
When you sign up for Three’s 5G home broadband service you’ll also get Three’s 5G Hub. It connects to Three’s 4G and 5G network.
According to Three, you can connect up to 64 devices (including laptops, phones and tablets) to the hub.
Vodafone, on the other hand, offer 5G broadband via its GigaCube 5G broadband router. Prices range from £30 to £50 depending on what data allowance you opt for, and you can choose from 30-day rolling contracts or an 18-month contract term. Bear in mind, though, if you choose the 30-day option, you will have to pay a hefty amount upfront.
So, if you don’t have superfast broadband in your area or you’re just looking for a flexible contract, GigaCube is well-worth a look.
EE’s 5G Wi-Fi comes with EE’s pay monthly plan, but, to be honest, it’s isn’t cheap. £50 will buy you 50GB of data and £75 will buy you 100GB. Moreover, you’ll need to sign up to a 24-month contract.
What’s the difference between 5G and fibre?
Using Three as an example, the main difference is that, unlike other providers, it provides 4G and 5G broadband wirelessly as opposed to Sky, BT, TalkTalk and Virgin Media’s fixed-line technology.
This means that if you need to move house, all you need to do is bring your router along with you.
Where in the UK can I get 5G home broadband?
Right now, the only place Three offers 5G Home broadband is in London.
That said, the network has already said that it intends to roll out 5G across 25 cities across the UK, including: Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Reading, Rotherham, Sheffield, Slough, Sunderland and Wolverhampton.
Unfortunately, more remote areas are trickier. If you live in a rural area, you’ll likely have longer to wait before you can get 5G home broadband.
What are the cons of using 5G home broadband?
So, there you have it. 5G home broadband certainly has a lot to offer.
But, as with all wireless broadband connections, you need a strong wireless network connection for it to work properly.
If your connection leaves a lot to be desired, the signal can be unpredictable. With a fixed connection, this isn’t as much of a problem.
To that end, if you'd prefer to stick with fixed line, hit the button below to compare some of the best deals.