Mobile provider Smarty will switch on 5G services in the new year, after teasing the launch since the summer.
Smarty is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that uses Three’s network. Three’s 5G service got off the ground in February 2020, but sometimes MVNOs don’t get on board immediately.
At the time, ISPreview reported that a Smarty support agent told one customer: “Your phone may occasionally pick up a 5G signal as we work towards its launch.”
A spokesperson later told the site: “Once SMARTY supports 5G all over UK, we will inform our customers through notification.”
That time appears near, with some Smarty customers reporting they have received an email from their provider announcing the news:
“Did you know, SMARTY is about to get a big upgrade? We’re on track to be 5G ready in early 2022.
“With our superfast 5G you’ll be able to stream blockbuster films on the go or enjoy super-smooth video calling with all your favourite people. And all at no extra cost.
“We’ll be in touch with more 5G updates in the New Year.”
Customers will need a 5G-compatible smartphone to access the next-generation network and must also be in an area currently covered by Three’s 5G network.
Three’s 5G has gone live in 300 locations across the UK, which it says gives it “outdoor population coverage” of 29%.
If your area hasn’t been reached yet, don’t despair. Three has plans to reach 2,500 more locations over the next few years.
Three also claims to offer the UK’s fastest 5G, citing a study from Ookla that found its 5G network averaged download speeds of 231.07Mbps in the first half of 2021. Rivals Vodafone, EE, and O2 lagged behind with average download speeds between 140Mbps and 150Mbps.
As a mobile provider, Smarty’s draw is that, unlike the big guys, it doesn’t lock you into a year or 18-month contract. Instead, it offers service on a rolling, 30-day basis. That means you can switch away whenever you like without facing exit fees. It specialises in SIM-only deals, so you'll need to already own a mobile phone or buy one elsewhere.
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