Vodafone will launch 5G in 19 towns and cities across the UK during 2019. These include Reading, Southampton, Guildford, Portsmouth, Bournemouth and Newbury.
Vodafone became the first UK company to carry 5G traffic over a commercial mobile network in October 2018 from a location in Salford, Greater Manchester. Now sites in Bristol, Cardiff and Liverpool have been switched on and are streaming live 5G mobile data traffic to and from the Internet, using the latest compatible routers.
Meanwhile, Vodafone engineers have installed 5G antennas and associated equipment in Birmingham, Glasgow and London ahead of going live. All mobile sites are connected to Vodafone RedStream, the nationwide optical fibre network, with connections giving speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second to ensure customers wishing to stream video without buffering can do so even in built-up areas at busy times of the day.
Alongside the seven cities already announced, Vodafone will be launching 5G in Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton this year. And of course, the company will also be launching 5G in Newbury, the original home of Vodafone and the location of its technology headquarters.
In addition to live field trials, Vodafone is also rigorously testing the performance of 5G smartphones, processors and routers in its Newbury headquarters using the latest industry standards which were approved in December 2018.
5G promises device speeds around 10 times faster than 4G, meaning high quality 4K video calls and downloads will be delivered even quicker to smartphones and tablets. Data transfer of less than 20 milliseconds will be standard, which is great news for mobile users like gamers, who up until now have had to rely on home broadband when playing online. 5G will also deliver response times of less than five milliseconds into smart factories, connecting robots and mobile machines.
Vodafone UK chief technology officer executive Scott Petty said: “Our multi-billion-pound network investment and leading position in setting global standards will ensure our customers have the very latest 5G releases and technology. 5G will also usher in a new era where everyone and everything is better connected, whether you are running a hotel in Portsmouth or broadcasting live at MediaCity in Salford.”
In addition to the 12 new cities, Vodafone’s investment in the latest Active Antenna (Massive MIMO) technology means many existing 4G sites are now 5G ready. This technology effectively provides multiple-data ‘channels’ from a single antenna, coupled with the 3.4GHz 5G spectrum. Vodafone secured the largest block of this 5G spectrum at last year’s auction.