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Telefónica's O2 launches 5G in 6 UK cities

As expected, Telefónica UK Ltd., or O2, on Oct. 17 rolled out its 5G network in six locations across the U.K.

The mobile operator initially made its next-generation wireless service available in key parts of Belfast, Northern Ireland; Cardiff, Wales; Edinburgh, Scotland; and London, Slough and Leeds in England. It is working with Nokia Corp. and Ericsson to expand its 5G coverage to 20 towns and cities by year-end, and to 50 locations by summer 2020.

O2 also launched five 5G custom plans for customers in its 5G-enabled areas. The basic plan worth £25 monthly offers unlimited calls and texts as well as 5 GB of data, while the highest plan offers unlimited calls, texts and data for £40 per month. Each tariff comes with Facebook Inc.'s Oculus Go virtual reality headset and a 12-month subscription to virtual reality music platform MelodyVR. Subscribers will be able to choose from a range of 5G devices, such as the Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.'s Galaxy S10 5G, Galaxy Note10+ 5G and Galaxy A90 5G, as well as Xiaomi Corp.'s Mi MIX 3 5G phones.

The telco also unveiled 5G plans for small, medium-size and big businesses, including a 5G access bolt-on option for customers without the need to change existing contracts.

Furthermore, O2 detailed its other 5G initiatives, including plans to launch 5G "innovation spaces," or test environments across the U.K. The company said it is investing more than £2 million a day to boost its network, including 4G connectivity. Earlier, it completed a deal with Vodafone Group PLC to share 5G networks on joint sites within the U.K.

Spanish telecom giant Telefónica SA owns O2.