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EE lights up London skyline as UK’s first 5G network switched on

EE lit up London’s iconic River Thames tonight in celebration of the launch of the UK’s first 5G network.

The UK’s number one mobile network marked the occasion by hosting a 5G-powered gig with platinum-selling UK artist, Stormzy, set against the stunning backdrop of Tower Bridge.

Fans in attendance and those tuning in online saw history in the making as the Glastonbury 2019 headliner’s performance became the first event of its kind to be live streamed over EE’s new 5G network, which was hosted by Radio DJ, Clara Amfo.

Using the latest 5G and remote production technology, EE broadcast the event to thousands of fans across the UK.

To accompany the show, a 5G-powered performance was created in collaboration with Stormzy to celebrate the six cities that EE has connected with 5G. Over 200 state-of-the-art LED lights were affixed to the stage, with beams of light projected 1,000ft in front of the Tower Bridge. The 5G-powered display, which was connected via EE’s 5G network, supported the powerful lyrics and music of Stomzy’s bespoke set.

Fans in each of the other five launch cities were treated to the best seat in the house via a 360-degree VR experience at stores in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester. Guests attending the in-store events were invited to use VR headsets to watch the performance in 360 degrees from the front row, just metres away from where Stormzy was performing on the floating stage in London.

Stormzy commented, following his one-off gig: “Big up EE, thank you for letting me launch your 5G network in the UK. Tonight was sick, I’m honoured to be part of history.”

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer business, said: “We wanted to mark the arrival of the UK’s first 5G network with something spectacular. Tonight, we made history, not only by becoming the first network to launch 5G in the UK - but also using 5G to live stream this event to thousands of fans across the UK. Stormzy lit up the Thames and his fans’ faces with the energy, passion and charisma that he always brings to his live shows.”

Stormzy kept the crowd rapt with this one-off show, set against the iconic backdrop of London’s Tower Bridge. First things first he set the evening’s tone, rising up on stage as night fell to an overwhelming ovation from the buoyant crowd, which included competition winners from across the UK.

The star-studded audience that included Ashley James, Lilah Parsons and Ellie Bamber watched the performance from the private decks of the freshly renamed named the EE GIGABOAT.

5G is built on top of EE’s award-winning 4G network – customers will connect to both 4G and 5G at the same time to get the best possible experience, even in the most crowded areas.

EE is launching 5G in the busiest parts of the UK, where 5G can really make a difference by providing a more reliable data connection to businesses and consumers. EE expects customers to experience an increase in speeds of around 100-150Mbps even in the busiest areas. Some customers will break the one gigabit-per-second milestone on their 5G smartphones. The fastest speed possible when EE launched 4G in 2012 was just 50Mbps.

It is EE’s ambition to offer unrivalled choice with the best content, smartest devices, and the latest technology, through best in class partnerships. As part of this, EE is partnering with some of the world’s leading manufacturers to offer the UK’s largest range of 5G smartphones.

From today, consumers and businesses can order the new devices, including smartphones from Samsung, OnePlus, LG, and Oppo, a mobile broadband device from HTC, and a 5G home broadband router from Huawei.

EE has launched new 5G plans with Swappable Benefits for customers. All 5G customers will get two Swappables from a choice of five – including the BT Sport App HD HDR access for the best possible video quality, Gamer’s Data Pass, Music Data Pass, EE Video Data Pass, and Roam Further Pass – which they can swap in or out anytime they want. Customers taking the 120GB plan will get three Swappables, worth up to £33.99 per month.

In addition to the six launch cities, in 2019 EE will also be introducing 5G across the busiest parts of Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield. And in 2020, ten more towns and cities will get 5G sites: Aberdeen, Bournemouth, Brighton, Cambridge, Dundee, Exeter, Ipswich, Norwich, Plymouth and York.