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EE switches on 5G test network at Canary Wharf

MNO explores high-capacity zone testing for its 5G network roll-out, with the first phase expected to target hotspots such as London’s Canary Wharf

Mobile network operator EE has switched on its first live 5G mobile network trial site at Montgomery Square at London’s Canary Wharf to test spectrum and devices for performance, speed and coverage ahead of full commercial deployment in the near future.

Canary Wharf already benefits from an indoor 4G mobile network supplied on a carrier-neutral basis by Arqiva using a distributed antenna system (DAS) to provide coverage at the complex’s two shopping centres and at the yet-to-be-opened Crossrail station.

The complex’s owner, the Qatari-backed Canary Wharf Group, has now partnered with EE to trial the next generation of mobile connectivity.

Canary Wharf Group head of technology and innovation Mark Nallen said: “Staying at the forefront of connectivity and new technologies is critical to our community, and that’s why we are partnering with [EE parent] BT Group to support delivery of 5G.

“The consumers who live and work here will benefit from being better connected, and the enterprises based here will have the chance to partner with BT Group to understand the full capabilities of 5G.”

Canary Wharf is home to many of the world’s top financial services businesses, as well as startup community Level39, which accommodates more than 1,200 startups working across a diverse range of specialisms including fintech and cyber security, making it an ideal testbed for 5G connectivity in an urban setting.

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To this end, EE is exploring high-capacity zone testing for its 5G network roll-out, with the first phase expected to target hotspots such as Canary Wharf. The operator has identified 10 more sites for consumer and business technology trials in east London, which will go live by the end of October.

“This is the latest milestone in our 5G roll-out – a live test of our 5G network in a hugely busy hotspot, where we know there is going to be demand from customers for increased mobile capacity,” said Fotis Karonis, 5G technology lead at EE parent BT.

“With constant upgrades to 4G, and laying the foundations for 5G, we are working to always be able to deliver what our customers need – both consumers and the vertical industries that will make the greatest use of 5G. We were UK pioneers with 4G and today we saw the UK’s first live connections on 5G – this is a huge step forward for our digital infrastructure.”

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