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BT gives progress report on last year’s network vision

Megan Robinson
September 6, 2022

One year on, BT is well on its way to completing its ambitions in 5G and the PSTN switch-off

BT has given an update on its progress from last year’s network vision where it outlined goals for the company to complete over a certain period of time.

The company’s network ambition is to have 5G connectivity anywhere in the UK by 2028 and a fully converged network in the UK by the mid 2020’s. 

During the presentation, chief technology officer Howard Watson said that it has made progress with its 4G coverage by expanding the rural reach by a further 1,000 sq miles since last year, and covers 86 per cent of the UK population. 

5G network update

BT has covered half the UK population with 5G coverage a year ahead of its 2023 schedule, and there are seven million 5G-ready customers.

Watson said that BT is building an unbeatable 5G network and has tested out its capabilities in extreme circumstances.

“We tried out the 5G technology during Storm Arwin and through this year’s heatwave to see how it could deploy mobile coverage solutions in much harder to get to areas, and it worked,” he said.

Last year, BT promised that it would develop a new 5G core and go live in 2022, with the service fully launched in 2023, and now the first few customers have been transferred to the core.

Watson also provided an update on the Huawei situation, as BT and other providers have had to switch 4G suppliers.

“We have reduced dependence on Huawei and have swapped to Ericsson or Nokia equipment, and we’re on track to meet the July 2023 deadline to limit our reliance on Huawei,” he said.


BT is moving all of its customers off of legacy products such as 3G networks, copper broadband and copper phones, to secure a full closure of legacy platforms.

It aims to have all customers off of 3G by the end of 2023 and the entire network to be sunsetting from 2024.

Watson said the copper broadband is down to the last few thousand customers as Openreach is rolling out fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) as its replacement.

“There is not much demand or need for 3G right now and customers are being contacted to be moved to 4G or 5G and we should have all customers moved by December,” he said.

“The PSTN switch off is also looming and should be completed by 2025.”

In the future, Watson revealed that BT wants to become a market leader in 5G with 90pc geo coverage by 2028, as well as becoming a market leader in full fibre by reaching 25 million premises by 2026.


3G 4G 5G BT Ericsson

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