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Vodafone to launch 5G network in UK on 3 July

Written by Tue 14 May 2019

5G Innovators Initiative

Vodafone has set its live date for the next-generation mobile network and said it will cost the same as 4G tariffs

Vodafone has become the first UK operator to announce the official switch-on date for its 5G network, revealing it will go live for consumers and businesses in seven cities on 3 July.

Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London will be the first to receive coverage, with Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton following later in the year.

The operator said it will also offer 5G roaming in the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain this summer.

The network will be priced the same as 4G for consumers and businesses. Vodafone’s first 5G smartphone goes on sale next week and a 5G home and office router will also be available in time for launch, to give customers without a fixed line connection high-speed internet access.

“We can today announce the largest launch of 5G in the UK and be the first to announce 5G roaming,” said Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery. “It means that UK businesses can lead the world in adopting 5G to boost productivity and attract investment. It means consumers can get the fastest mobile speeds ever, and it means that our public sector will be able to adopt new services to improve healthcare, social services and housing.”

Other UK operators have promised limited 5G rollouts this year, but have not revealed specific release dates. EE said it has imminent plans to release 5G and that it will roll it out to 16 cities by the end of the year, beginning with the UK’s capital cities as well as Birmingham and Manchester. O2 is beginning its deployment in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London this year but is delaying wider rollout until 2020, when it expects 5G handsets to be more widely available.

Business impact

A report released in March revealed business leaders are largely cynical about the impact of 5G, with 53 percent seeing no near-term business case for the technology.

George Nazi, global lead at consultancy Accenture’s network practice, said that while the impact of 5G is hard to gauge at this stage, companies will be left behind if they do not shed their cynicism.

“The reality is that 5G will bring a major wave of connectivity that opens new dimensions for innovation and commercial and economic development,” he said.

“Breakthroughs in three-dimensional video, immersive television, autonomous cars and smart-city infrastructure will unleash opportunities that are difficult to imagine today but will soon be transformative. Telecommunications companies will play a pivotal role in bringing these prospects to light.”

Written by Tue 14 May 2019


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