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5G handsets and networks: Everything you need to know about roll-outs and roadmaps for the UK

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Huawei ban: Winners, losers, and what’s at stake (a whole lot)
ZDNet’s Jason Cipriani and Jason Perlow talk with Karen Roby about how the security and trade brouhaha impacts everything from the future of regional carriers and the bottom lines of tech giants to 5G’s prospects and consumer’s pocketbooks. Read more: https://zd.net/2WzVRbq

If you’ve been waiting impatiently for 5G, your wait is nearly over: networks are beginning to be switched on and handsets are becoming available. However, it’s very early days, and the utility of 5G services will depend for some time on where you live, what you want to do with the new mobile technology, and how much you’re prepared to pay as an early adopter.

Every new mobile generation generates plenty of media coverage, but 5G is different thanks in no small measure to the controversy surrounding Huawei, which is a leading supplier of networking equipment and smartphones. At the time of writing, Huawei remains on the US Commerce Department’s Entity List, which prohibits US companies from exporting technology products and software to the Chinese company without specific authorisation.

Although alleviated somewhat by a 90-day special licence, this move — driven by the suspicion that Huawei poses a cybersecurity threat to US interests — severely hampers Huawei’s long-term ability to do business in the 5G market. Two of the key suppliers of the smartphone ecosystem — Google (the Android operating system) and Arm (processor designs) — have put their ongoing relationships with Huawei on hold, for example. 

SEE: IT pro’s guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (free PDF)

All UK operators use multiple vendors for their network infrastructure, but Huawei’s equipment is both reliable and competitively priced, and therefore widely used. In April, the UK government signalled that it would allow Huawei to supply ‘non-core’ components of its 5G infrastructure such as masts and antennas. In response, the Trump administration indicated that Huawei’s involvement in UK 5G networks could disrupt intelligence co-operation between the two countries (which has historically been very close). However, President Trump’s latest statement seems more positive: “We are going to have absolutely an agreement on Huawei and everything else,” he said at a press conference in London during his recent state visit. “We have an incredible intelligence relationship and we will be able to work out any differences,” Trump added.

This is the background to the 5G roll-out in the UK, which is covered here. The key point to note is that 5G coverage will remain patchy and dependent on existing 4G infrastructure for some time. Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) and Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) will be supported from the start, but new use cases based on Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communication (URLLC), Massive Machine Type Communication (MMTC) and network slicing will require updated standards and standalone 5G infrastructure to come on-stream. Additional geopolitical complications can only delay these developments.

UK 5G networks

ee-logo.png

Launch

Use cases

Where

Huawei equipment

5G roadmap

Other

30 May 2019

eMBB, FWA

London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester (see coverage maps)

Radio Access Network (RAN), 4G core

later in 2019  Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield

2020  Aberdeen, Cambridge, Derby, Gloucester, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Worcester, Wolverhampton

2022/3  full 5G core network

Post-2023  URLLC, network slicing, multi-Gbps speeds

vodafone-logo.png

Launch

Use cases

Where

Huawei equipment

5G roadmap

Other

3 July 2019

eMBB, FWA

Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Manchester (check network status)

RAN

later in 2019  Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington, Wolverhampton

Roaming in UK, Germany, Italy, Spain (summer 2019)

three-logo.png

Launch

Use cases

Where

Huawei equipment

5G roadmap

Other

August 2019

eMBB, FWA

London (FWA only at first)

RAN, Access transport services

later in 2019   Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Reading, Rotherham, Sheffield, Slough, Sunderland, Wolverhampton on 700MHz and 3.5GHz 5G spectrum

early 2020s  mmWave (>24GHz)

o2-logo.png

Launch

Use cases

Where

Huawei equipment

5G roadmap

Other

H2 2019

eMBB, FWA

Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London (plus Millbrook Proving Ground in June 2019)

RAN

includes ‘5G innovation spaces across the country, offering next generation 5G test environments to business of all sizes’

UK 5G smartphones

Smartphone manufacturers are beginning to release 5G handsets in the UK — although as you can see from the information above, network coverage is only just getting underway. The ‘standard’ platform is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 processor and X50 5G Modem, although Huawei’s handsets use the company’s Kirin 980 processor and Balong 5000 5G modem. So far, both EE and Vodafone have put their plans to launch with Huawei 5G phones on hold.

With the exception of new folding designs, most early 5G handsets are based on existing 4G devices. But to accommodate the 5G modem and antennas, trade-offs need to be made. So as well as being more expensive, you’ll usually find that 5G models either have a smaller battery for the same weight and dimensions, or use a bigger battery in a slightly bulkier, heavier chassis.

Huawei Mate 20 X 5G

huawei-mate-20-x-5g.jpg

Image: Huawei

Launch

RRP

RRP for 4G model

5G price delta

5G trade-offs

EE

Voda

O2

Three

June 2019

£999

£799

£200

smaller battery (4,200/5,000mAh) than Mate 20 X, but supports faster charging (40W/22.5W)
More specs

on hold

on hold

Huawei Mate X

huawei-mate-x-5g.jpg

Images: Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Launch

RRP

RRP for 4G model

5G price delta

5G trade-offs

EE

Voda

O2

Three

Q3 2019

£2000

n/a

n/a

Specs

on hold

on hold

LG V50 ThinQ

lg-v50-thinq.jpg

Image: LG

Launch

RRP

RRP for 4G model

5G price delta

5G trade-offs

EE

Voda

O2

Three

TBA

~£850

£750

~£100

thicker (8.3/7.6mm) and heavier (183/169g) than V40 ThinQ, but has bigger battery (4000/3300mAh); 40% better heat dissipation; optional folding second screen (£147)
More specs

pre-order

OnePlus 7 Pro 5G

oneplus-7-pro-5g.jpg

Images: OnePlus

Launch

RRP

RRP for 4G model

5G price delta

5G trade-offs

EE

Voda

O2

Three

30 May 2019

TBA     

£649

n/a     

Specs

order

OPPO Reno 5G

oppo-reno-5g.jpg

Images: Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Launch

RRP

RRP for 4G model

5G price delta

5G trade-offs

EE

Voda

O2

Three

TBA

~£790     

£699

~£100    

heavier (215/210g) than Reno 10X Zoom
More specs

pre-order

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

samsung-s10-5g.jpg

Images: Vodafone

Launch

RRP

RRP for 4G model

5G price delta

5G trade-offs

EE

Voda

O2

Three

7 June 2019

£1099                    

£899

£200    

bigger screen (6.7/6.4-inch) and heavier (198/175g) than Galaxy S10+, but battery is bigger (4500/4100mAh) and charges faster (25/15W); 3D depth cameras front & rear; no MicroSD slot
More specs

pre-order     

pre-order

announced

Samsung Galaxy Fold

samsung-galaxy-fold-5g.jpg

Image: Samsung

Launch

RRP

RRP for 4G model

5G price delta

5G trade-offs

EE

Voda

O2

Three

TBA

£1800                         

n/a

n/a                        

5G version of the Galaxy Fold has a 4235mAh battery, compared to 4380mAh for the 4G LTE model
More specs

                   announced

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G

xiaomi-mix-3-5g-2.jpg

Image: Xiaomi

Launch

RRP

RRP for 4G model

5G price delta

5G trade-offs

EE

Voda

O2

Three

23 May 2019

~£530                       

£299

~£230                          

heavier (225/218g) than Mi Mix 3, but has a bigger battery (3800/3200mAh) and newer GPU (Adreno 640/630)
More specs

               

pre-order

Other 5G devices in the UK

HTC 5G Hub

htc-5g-hub.jpg

Image: HTC

HTC’s 5G Hub is a small (129x100x43mm) Android 9.0 device with a 5-inch HD touch-screen and a Nano-SIM slot for 5G or 4G LTE connectivity. It runs on the Snapdragon 855/X50 platform with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, expandable up to 512GB via MicroSD, and can support up to 20 devices over wi-fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ad). The 5G Hub can function as a home media hub or serve small offices with secure (encrypted, VPN) connections. It’s also battery powered (7,660mAh, ‘all day’ life) and lightweight enough (340g) to serve as a mobile hotspot.

Availability
EE
Price
~$600/£472

Huawei CPE Pro 

huawei-cpe-pro.jpg

Image: Huawei

Powered by Huawei’s multi-mode Balong 5000 5G chipset, the 5G CPE Pro is a dual-band (2.4/5GHz) wi-fi router with Huawei HiLink support. The 5G CPE Pro supports both 4G and 5G wireless connections; on a 5G network, Huawei says, a 1GB HD video clip can be downloaded in three seconds, and 8K video can be streamed smoothly without lag.

Availability
EE, Vodafone
Price
$1099 in US (~£866)

Lenovo 5G laptop (Project Limitless)

lenovo-project-limitless.jpg

Images: Lenovo

Although they won’t ship until early 2020 and pricing has yet to be announced, Lenovo has unveiled a new class of 5G-connected PCs in a collaboration with Qualcomm called Project Limitless. The new Arm-powered devices will use Qualcomm’s 8cx 5G chipset featuring the multi-mode Snapdragon X55 5G Modem.

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The Best Features Of The Aston Martin Vulcan

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Although the Vulcan was specifically designed not to be road legal, one owner decided that they wanted to stick on some license plates and take it on the highway anyway. Except, it was far from that simple, as the conversion process required making some major changes to the car, and cost several hundred thousand dollars on top of the original purchase price (via Motor1). The street conversion was handled by RML Group but had full support from the Aston Martin factory, and after completion, it became the only road-legal Vulcan in existence.

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5 Cars Owned By Bob Seger That Prove He Has Great Taste

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Pulling into the final spot on the list is a 1969 Shelby Cobra GT350 Fastback. This particular car is unique for a few reasons. First, it was the last “new original” Shelby that Ford would produce. The GT350 and GT500 released in 1970 weren’t actually new or original but re-VIN’d production cars from the previous year. Also, during the summer of ’69, Carrol Shelby ended his association with Ford (via MustangSpecs).

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Here’s What Made Volkswagen’s Air-Cooled Engine So Special

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Engines like the Chevy Small Block, Ford 5.0, Chrysler HEMI, and Toyota 2JZ are known for power, torque, and how quickly they can propel a hunk of steel down the drag strip or around the corners of a track. The Volkswagen air-cooled engine is remembered amongst people who have owned one as reliable, easy to maintain, and as numerous as grains of sand on the beach. VW made literally tens of millions of the engine, including over 21 million in just the Beetle (via Autoweek). 

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