UK incumbent to start offering 5G in the autumn with BT Plus customers getting first dibs

BT plans to roll out 5G services in the autumn and will use the launch of the next generation of mobile technology as a way to draw customers to its converged fibre and mobile offering.

The UK incumbent on Tuesday announced that BT Plus customers will be offered 5G first, although it did not share a firm timetable for launch. It said it will publish more information – including details of 5G device availability – in due course and gave would-be customers the opportunity to register their interest.

Users of BT’s own-brand mobile service, which still operates separately from its EE mobile arm although uses the latter’s network, will have access to 5G after BT Plus customers, as will the telco’s business customer base.

Understandably, BT’s 5G rollout plan mirrors that of EE, which launched its 5G network in six major UK cities in late May and plans to add a further 10 before the end of the year.

The telco launched BT Plus in May 2018 and had signed up around 1 million customers by the end of the year to 31 March.

BT needs to take advantage of the stickiness afforded by a successful converged offering if it is to continue to compete effectively in the consumer space. Pushing early adopters into BT Plus could help it to do that, but it will probably take more than just an early start to trigger any acceleration in converged services take-up.