EE has launched the HTC 5G Hub on 5GEE WiFi, their 5G-based mobile broadband service from £50/month.

EE has launched the UK’s first 5G mobile broadband plan, with the HTC 5G Hub router. Available from £50/month, the 5GEE WiFi service allows you to access 5G broadband on up to 20 devices at one time.

The 5GEE WiFi service can be used as a replacement for your home broadband connection. It can also be used whilst you’re on-the-go as a battery-powered mobile wi-fi hotspot device.

In this article, we’ll review the 5GEE WiFi service, the price plans available and what you’re able to get with it. We’ll also look at the HTC 5G Hub router in more detail, before comparing it to alternative offers from other mobile networks. Finally, we’ll look at the level of coverage available on EE and on the 5GEE WiFi service.

5GEE WiFi Price Plans

Over the past year, we’ve seen a rapid explosion in the popularity of mobile home broadband services. This is where you replace your fixed-line home broadband connection with a wireless connection that uses 4G or 5G network technology. Mobile broadband can give comparable or even faster download speeds than a fibre connection, along with greater flexibility on where you can use it and an instant setup process without the need for an engineer.

To date, most mobile home broadband services (including Three’s HomeFi, Three’s AI Cube, EE’s 4GEE Home and Vodafone’s GigaCube) have been based around 4G technology. However, this has recently changed with the launch of 5GEE WiFi, the UK’s first 5G broadband offering. With prices starting from £50/month, the service promises greater network capacity and faster download speeds compared to 4G.

The 5GEE WiFi service comes with a HTC 5G Hub router, and is currently available on a choice of two 5GEE WiFi price plans:

Data Allowance Contract Length Upfront Price Monthly Price
50GB Data 24 month contract £100 £50/month
100GB Data 24 month contract £100 £75/month

Unfortunately, it’s only possible to get up to 100GB of data per month on a 5GEE WiFi plan at present. If you were to run out of data in the middle of month, you’ll need to buy one of EE’s data add-ons. Extra data will cost you £1 for 100MB, £5 for 1GB or £15 for 10GB. The data add-on will only be valid for the remainder of the current billing cycle and will be cleared when your allowances next refresh.

Customers with an EE Pay Monthly mobile phone plan will also receive a 20GB data boost on their mobile phone when taking 5GEE WiFi.

HTC 5G Hub Router

Customers signing up for 5GEE WiFi will receive a HTC 5G Hub router for an upfront cost of £100.

The best way to think about the HTC 5G Hub router is that it’s like a normal 5G router but with some of the functionality of a tablet built-in. Because of this, it can be placed fairly centrally in your home and can be used as a hub (e.g. for your family calendar, photos, casting media to other devices, etc).

As a router, you’ve got 4G and 5G connectivity built in to the Hub. In theory, it supports maximum download speeds of up to 2.63Gbit/s (2,630Mbit/s), though EE’s network will cap out at a maximum speed of 980Mbit/s. In practice, download speeds will be more like 150Mbit/s as coverage won’t be perfect and capacity will be shared with other users.

The 4G or 5G connection from your Hub can then be shared with up to 20 other devices. It enables this by creating a wi-fi hotspot that your other devices are able to connect to (supporting the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology, with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ad connectivity). There’s also a Gigabit Ethernet socket for connected a wired device to your Hub. A maximum of 4 devices at any one time can use the fastest 802.11ad Wi-Fi technology.

The HTC 5G Hub allows you to share a 5G connection with up to 20 other devices.

Unfortunately, the HTC 5G Hub lacks support for an external antenna. Therefore, if you’re living in an area with poorer mobile coverage, an alternative router with support for an external antenna may prove to be a better option.

In terms of the other capabilities, the HTC 5G Hub also functions like a miniature built-in tablet. It has a 5.0-inch HD display (720p resolution) and runs the latest version of Android 9.0 Pie. You have access to the Google Play Store so you can install all of the normal applications and games that you’re used to on your smartphone or tablet. It’s also possible to do things like watching videos, listening to music, browsing photos, etc on the Hub. The HTC 5G Hub is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and has 32GB of built-in storage (with the ability to add an extra 512GB through the micro-SD card slot).

Most typically, you’ll probably use the HTC 5G Hub at home, connected to a mains power supply. However, it’s also possible to use it on battery whilst you’re out and about. The device has a 7,660mAh battery, which HTC says is enough for “all-day usage”. The device is wedge-shaped, measuring 43mm at its thickest and weighing 340g. This means you can easily stick it in a backpack, but it’s probably a bit too bulky to carry around in your pocket.

Given the size of the device and the relatively small screen, it’s unlikely the 5G Hub will replace your normal smartphone or tablet. It’s best to think of it as an additional device that will supplement this for occasional usage in the hallway or whilst you’re out and about.

Alternatives

The HTC 5G Hub on 5GEE WiFi is the UK’s first mobile broadband service with 5G connectivity. Because of this, it’s still priced at a level for early adopters. To give an example, you’ll need to pay £75 for just 100GB of data on 5GEE WiFi. Meanwhile, existing 4G-based broadband services will give you unlimited data for as little as £22/month.

For most people, the best value alternatives come from Three in the form of the HomeFi or AI Cube B900 router. For instance, the following table shows 4G home broadband price plans from Three, with the 4G HomeFi router included:

Data Allowance Contract Length Upfront Price Monthly Price
Unlimited Data 24 month contract £0.00 £22/month
Unlimited Data 12 month contract £29.00 £27/month
1GB Data (1 month validity) Pay As You Go £59.99 Top-up as required*
3GB Data (3 month validity) Pay As You Go £65.99 Top-up as required*
12GB Data (12 month validity) Pay As You Go £89.99 Top-up as required*
24GB Data (24 month validity) Pay As You Go £109.99 Top-up as required*

* Customers with a HomeFi on Pay As You Go can use the Data Reward plan. This offers 200MB of free data per month, with further usage costing 1p/MB.

See all Three HomeFi Deals →

The Huawei AI Cube B900 router is available for an extra £4/month, giving faster download speeds (up to 300Mbit/s), a built-in Amazon Alexa smart speaker and wi-fi connectivity on up to 64 devices at one time.

Alternatively, if you’d like a 4G-powered home broadband service from EE, you could look at the 4GEE Home Router instead. Here, you’ll pay £40/month on an 18-month contract for 100GB of data with no upfront cost. This is a £35 saving every month over the 5G plan, with no upfront cost and a shorter 12-month contract. Alternatively, you could go a larger data allowance (e.g. 500GB of data for £70/month, which is less than the price of 100GB on 5GEE WiFi).

The following 4GEE Home price plans are currently available:

Data Allowance Contract Length Upfront Price Monthly Price
50GB Data 18 month contract £0.00 £35/month
100GB Data 18 month contract £0.00 £40/month
200GB Data 18 month contract £0.00 £50/month
300GB Data 18 month contract £0.00 £60/month
500GB Data 18 month contract £0.00 £70/month

A shorter 30-day version of each plan is available, with a £100 upfront cost for the router. For more information, please read our full comparison of 4G home broadband services.

Coverage

5G Coverage

The unique selling point of 5GEE WiFi is its ability to connect to EE’s 5G mobile network, which is the first of its kind in the UK.

At launch, EE’s 5G service is available in six UK cities. It will then be extended to a total of 16 cities by the end of 2019:

Now Live6 towns and cities are live on EE 5G (July 2019)
Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Manchester
Planned &
Announced
19 towns and cities planned
Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield (End of 2019)
Aberdeen, Cambridge, Derby, Gloucester, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Wolverhampton (2020)

You can check the 5G coverage in your area by entering your postcode on EE’s online coverage map:

Check 5G Coverage (ee.co.uk) →

The average download speeds when connected to EE’s 5G network will be around 150Mbit/s. For more information, see our in-depth guide to EE’s mobile network and coverage.

4G Coverage

For customers who are living in an area without access to 5G coverage, it’s still possible to access 4G coverage on the HTC 5G Hub.

At present, there is 99% population coverage and 90% geographical coverage on EE’s 4G network. You can get up to Category 9 LTE download speeds when connected to 4G, with typical speeds of around 90Mbit/s.

Enter your postcode on EE’s online coverage map to see the level of 4G coverage available in your area:

Check 4G Coverage (ee.co.uk) →

In our opinion, you’re probably best off choosing a 4G-only service if you’re unable to get 5G coverage in your area at present. Whilst the HTC 5G Hub gives you some added functionality, the 5GEE WiFi plans are priced at a fairly large premium. Combined with the relatively small amount of data you’ll get, this makes it far less attractive than existing 4G services (especially when you can get unlimited data on 4G home broadband for just £22/month).

More Information

For more information on 5GEE WiFi and the HTC 5G Hub router, please see EE’s official website.

Your Comments 2 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 2 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Hi Ken,

    I heard Three once they launch their 5g service will be using this same device and will be offering their 4g mobile broadband customers (not phone subscribers) upgrades to 5g at no extra cost.
    EE have never being serious in the mobile broadband market.
    Their pricing, data caps, and usage policies reflect that.
    In fact no one has apart from Three.
    This device on 5g is not practical unless it comes with unlimited data and is designed to be used as a main broadband.
    If people want caps on their data, they have phone plans for that.

    • Hi Mike,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, I’ve also heard that Three are planning to range the HTC 5G Hub router. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the price plans that they’ll offer with it, and fingers crossed for an unlimited data option!
      Ken

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