5G in Essex

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation of mobile internet that will allow us to use technology on the go like never before. It’s being rolled out in Essex by four different mobile network operators – EE, Vodafone, Three and O2. There are also smaller providers which use one of the four main networks to provide a mobile service. See our mobile network operators page for the full list.

What can 5G do and how is it different to 4G?

5G is the most advanced generation of mobile internet yet. It differs from 4G in three main ways:

    Faster download speeds

When we talk about speeds, we’re referring to the amount of data that can be transferred and the time it takes. This is typically measured in megabits per second (Mbps) and there are two different types: download speeds and upload speeds. Download speeds are the speed at which your device downloads data from the internet, whereas upload speeds are the speed at which it uploads data.

Typical 4G download speeds range from 10-20 Mbps. These speeds aren’t far off your typical superfast broadband speeds (30-80 Mbps). With 5G, download speeds range from 150-200 Mbps – ten times faster than 4G! These speeds are on par with those you’d get with a full fibre broadband connection.

    Decreased latency

Put simply, latency is how long it takes for your internet to react following an instruction. The lower the latency, the better, as this means it’s more responsive. Latency isn’t dependent on the speed of your internet connection though – it’s more about the quality of it.

Across a 4G connection, latency is typically around 30-40 milliseconds (ms). With a 5G connection, latency decreases to under 10ms. To put this into context, the human brain has a latency – or reaction time – of 13ms, so 5G is able to process information faster than we can!

    No limit on how many devices can connect to the network

5G will have the capacity to support up to one million connected devices per square kilometre, compared with 4G which can support around 2,000 connected devices per square kilometre (in the equivalent of 185 football pitches!).

This means that, with 5G, data is processed almost instantly, even if you’re in a crowded place like a music festival or a shopping centre where lots of people are on the same network.



To access 5G, you’ll need:

  1. A 5G-enabled device (typically a more recent mobile phone or tablet).
  2. A 5G data plan. You can get these from most mobile network operators.
  3. To be in an area covered by a 5G network. If the area you’re in isn’t covered by 5G, your device will automatically resort to using 4G, and will start using 5G once you’re in an area with 5G coverage.

We’re working with mobile network operators to understand and increase mobile coverage and connectivity across Essex.

Where is 5G coverage available?

Use the 5G coverage checker to check the network coverage status for your area, or link through to each individual network's checkers below.

    ◉ EE - https://coverage.ee.co.uk/coverage/ee

    ◉ Vodafone - https://www.vodafone.co.uk/network/status-checker

    ◉ Three - http://www.three.co.uk/Discover/Network/Coverage

    ◉ O2 - https://www.o2.co.uk/coveragechecker

What industries will benefit from 5G?

Many industries will benefit from 5G and its capabilities, including the emergency services, farming and manufacturing, to name a few.

Emergency services – 5G offers endless opportunities to the emergency services, from providing a more reliable network to emergency call responders working in control rooms, to allowing doctors to virtually assist paramedics at scenes of accidents. 5G combined with augmented reality (AR) could even help firefighters when having to deal with smoke-filled, zero-visibility incidents.  

Farming and agriculture – 5G will enable field conditions such as temperature, soil and contaminants to be monitored through a large network of 5G-connected devices and monitors. In addition, drones can be used to scan crops to identify weeds and apply pesticides with precision, or monitor the health of livestock.

Manufacturing – Data collection and analysis in real-time will allow manufacturers to run production lines more efficiently, as well as identify any faults instantaneously, therefore boosting health and safety too.

Go ahead and go further with 5G

What other benefits are there?

Energy saving – Introducing 5G into your home will have a positive environmental impact, as well as saving you money. Smart devices such as thermostats and lights can learn your habits – for example, switching themselves off when not needed. This could lower your energy usage, saving you money and reducing your carbon footprint.

Smart and safer transportation – In 5G-connected cities, cars with 5G technology will be warned of upcoming hazards – for example, blind spots – before they even reach them. In short, 5G will make our roads safer and may even prevent accidents from ever happening.

You can find more information about how 5G will impact businesses on our 5G for business webpage.

What about the risks associated with 5G?

You may have heard rumours about the risks associated with 5G. These include factually incorrect stories about a link between 5G and the spread of Covid-19. In addition, there have been concerns around 5G exposing people to harmful levels of radiation.

We’ve addressed these concerns in our blog, which busts the myths commonly associated with 5G.

Where can I find out more about 5G?

Mobile UK’s website is a great place to find out more about 5G. In addition to providing more information on this new mobile technology, they have resources on all things mobile and are building towards a digital future.

Planning for 5G in Essex

If you’re a mobile operator looking to implement a 5G network in Essex, take a look at the Essex Design Guide, which has been created in collaboration with EPOA, mobile network operators and Essex County Council.

The advances in both mobile and fixed digital technology allow for new opportunities to increase innovation in the way we currently plan for our future communities in Essex, and this guide aims to implement this.