Vodafone has switched on 5G sites with live data in three cities alongside laying out its plans to launch in 19 towns and cities across the UK during 2019.
The operator has now launched 5G test sites in Bristol, Cardiff, and Liverpool. These sites are streaming 5G mobile data traffic, while antennas and equipment have also been installed at sites in Birmingham, Glasgow, and London prior to going live.
Following these locations, Vodafone will target 5G launches this year in Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington, and Wolverhampton.
Some of the first 5G devices have been announced but are yet to reach consumers’ hands, so it’ll be some time before Vodafone’s networks will be tested at scale. We’re expecting a 5G version of Huawei’s flagship P-series smartphone to be announced in Paris later this month (which should be more affordable than its $2600 Mate X foldable).
Vodafone was the first UK operator to carry 5G traffic over a commercial mobile network in October 2018 from a location in Salford, Greater Manchester. The company says its network will deliver speeds around 10 times faster than 4G.
Scott Petty, CTO of Vodafone UK, 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.”
The UK’s largest operator, EE, claims it will launch 5G in 16 cities in 2019 starting with locations across London, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Belfast. These cities will be followed by parts of Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool, Glasgow, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry, and Bristol.
O2 appears to be undertaking a more cautious 5G rollout starting with London, Cardiff, Belfast, and Edinburgh this year. Other cities will come online ‘from 2020’ when devices are more widespread.
The remaining UK operator, Three, has said it will deliver 5G in 2019 but is yet to provide further details of its first locations.
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