BT is set to launch commercial 5G services in 16 towns and cities across the UK in 2019

BT will put 5G at the heart of its fully converged smart network, when it launches the next generation technology next year, according to the company’s chief technology officer, Howard Watson. 

Speaking exclusively at Huawei’s Global Mobile Broadband Forum in London on Tuesday, Watson said that 5G and 4G netowrks would underpin BT’s strategy for the forseeable future.  

"We’ve learned that 5G might not follow the same path as 4G but that’s OK – it doesn’t need to," he said.

"As CTO of BT, my job is not to build 5G or 4G networks. It’s not even to build WiFi or fixed line networks. These technologies are building blocks that we use to create something much bigger than the sum of its parts. 

"We are building a truly hybrid, converged network that aspires to give customers 100 per cent connectivity coverage." 

When it is launched, BT’s Smart Hybrid Network will utilise the comapny’s 4G, 5G, Wifi and fixed line networks to provide its customers with near ubiquitous connectivity.   

The Smart Network will automatically connect to the fastest, most stable connection available, delivering a seamless, connected experience to the customer. 

"To achieve this we need to update our Wifi estate. We will alos look at ways to remove the barriers that exist for Wifi networks – namely the need to manually log on to them." 

BT expects to launch its Smart Hybrid Network in 2022. 

"We are the only operator in the UK who can build a truly converged smart network and we are going to put 5G right at the heart of it," Watson said. 

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