LONDON           -         This was the year that 5G came to the UK, promising a new era of mobile communications. But how is it working out for those few consumers who have taken the plunge and signed up for a service?

I have conducted a not very scientific audit. My conclusion is that 5G is not ready for mainstream adoption yet.

The revolution began on 30 May when EE launched its 5G service in six cities. Vodafone swiftly followed, and then O2 switched on its service in mid-October. Three’s 5G service is not yet available for mobile phones, but it offers a home broadband service in parts of London. To get these services, you need a 5G phone or one of Three’s home broadband routers, so I borrowed equipment from all four networks and started my programme of testing.

5G promises to revolutionise the way we communicate, connecting all sorts of things - cars, lamp-posts, maybe even products on a supermarket shelf - as well as people to the internet, at lightning speeds.

But the vision of smart cities in which data flows seamlessly, creating all sorts of exciting services, is some way off. In the short-term, the operators have to persuade consumers that it is worth trading up to 5G. For now, the big selling points are speed and a lack of congestion.