EE will launch the UK's first 5G network on May 30

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. Image credit: TechRadar

The race to bring 5G to the UK is gathering pace, and EE looks like it'll be the first to launch the new high-speed and ultra-connected service.

At a press event in London, EE announced it's set to flick the switch on 5G on May 30, cutting way ahead of Vodafone's 5G launch date on July 3.

The networks will launch in six cities - London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham and Belfast, with plans to expand to more by the end of 2019 and even more in 2020.

So far, there are four confirmed handsets that EE will offer - the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Oppo Reno 5G, OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, and LG V50 ThinQ. Many of these phones are available in various other countries so far, but this is a lot of choice for consumers compared to 5G launches in other countries, some of which only had one 5G phone available out the gate.

Pre-orders for these phones start today, so you can pre-order the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G ready for its May 30 release. Not all the devices will be available when the network launches, though, as Samsung and Oppo have confirmed the Galaxy S10 5G and Oppo Reno 5G will launch on June 7, but we know for certain the OnePlus 7 Pro will be ready from the start.

One big hardware omission is any Huawei phones - while some of the slides as part of EE's presentation use images of them, there's been no hint that EE will sell these phones. It's likely that the news that Google has cut Huawei's access to Android has caused EE to pull the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G and Huawei Mate X for now.

As well as announcing its 5G network and phones, EE is showcasing some different uses 5G could have in the real world. Niantic spoke about how the company's new game, Harry Potter Wizards Unite, will run best on 5G with the extra connectivity and reliability it provides, and Google showed how recording social video and using AR will be quicker and smoother with 5G.

When EE switches on its 5G network, TechRadar will be on the ground providing expert commentary and analysis, so check back then for our thoughts on the future of British connectivity.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.