5G launches in UK: What is it?

Last updated at 06:48
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WATCH: What can you do with 5G?

Superfast 5G internet arrives in the UK today and promises speeds much faster than we have now.

It will be switched on in six UK cities.

EE is the first to launch the service, but Vodafone will start its own 5G service in about five weeks, although both providers are only launching it in certain areas.

Read on to find out more about it.

What is 5G?

You've probably seen the 4G or 3G icon on your phone - that's what connects you to the internet when you're out and about. Well, 5G is the new version of this.

It is short for 'fifth generation' mobile networks.

It's all about making internet connections faster and enabling more devices to access the mobile internet at the same time.

Big tech companies are getting excited and have been showing off their latest phones and gadgets that will take advantage of the new mobile network.

What can you do with 5G?

Whatever you do now with your phones, you'll be able to do faster and better with 5G.

Mobile gamers will have less delay - or latency - when pressing a button on a controller and seeing the effect on screen.

Films will download in seconds and mobile video should be glitch-free - good news for video callers!

Experts think 5G will be a game changer for driverless vehicles, giving them a better connection to communicate with each other, read live maps and get traffic info.

The idea is also that 5G will be able to support more devices at once. So when you go to a busy place like a concert or a sporting fixture and your phone won't connect to roaming internet, 5G aims to address this problem - although more special antennas will need to be built to help make this happen.

How fast will it be?
Teenagers on phonesGetty Images

Experts think that eventually 5G speeds will be about 100 times faster than standard 4G, or 30 times faster than advanced 4G - a huge difference to what we're used to now.

Reports suggest that, in time, 5G will be fast enough to download an ultra-high definition 4K movie in less time than it takes to read the description of what the film is about!

But as it's a new technology, users might not notice higher speeds at first.

It's likely to be used by companies to boost the capacity on current 4G networks.

It will be 2020 when the 5G really kicks off and we might have to wait until 2022 until most of the UK has good 5G.

Will I need a 5G phone?
Boy on phoneGetty Images

In order to use the new 5G network, you would need to have a device that's compatible with it.

Lots of tech companies have been revealing their new 5G phones since early 2019, ready for people to buy them in the years to come.

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