Fixed line ISP and mobile operator Vodafone UK has released their latest quarterly results to the end of March (Q4 FY19), which saw them add another 50,000 fixed broadband customers (up from +46K in the previous quarter) to total 575,000. Plus they’ve announced the 3rd July 2019 launch of their UK 5G network.
Most of the development’s since Vodafone’s last report have focused upon their 5G mobile trials and planned commercial rollout to 19 UK cities (here). Today we finally learn that the commercial deployment will officially begin on 3rd July 2019 and the first cities to benefit include Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London via the 3.4GHz spectrum band (much of this was announced already).
Meanwhile Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton are all expected to follow later this year. On top of that Vodafone will price 5G the same as 4G for both consumers and business customers. A choice of 5G smartphones will be available to buy online or in their stores over the summer (the first go on sale next week).
The operator said they will also offer a 5G router for use in the home and office (fixed wireless broadband) in order to give customers without a fixed line connection “high-speed broadband access” (no mention of Gigabit speeds but we know it’s capable of that from the testing). 5G roaming will also be launched across the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain over the summer.
The new 5G price plans will be unveiled next week to coincide with the availability of the first handset. Handsets can initially be used over 4G, and will be able to use 5G when the network is switched on and all manufacturer software updates are completed.
Nick Jeffery, Vodafone UK CEO, said:
“We started our 5G journey more than three years ago. We led the way in setting 5G standards to ensure phones and networks work well together. We upgraded our masts to be able to take 5G without disruption. And we were the first UK company to test 5G over our all-fibre core fixed and mobile network.
This is important. It means we can today announce the largest launch of 5G in the UK and be the first to announce 5G roaming. 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.”
Unfortunately the operator rarely gives much detail on their fixed line UK projects in quarterly updates and today is no exception. The provider thus remains fairly mute on the progress of their partnership with Cityfibre (i.e. deploying a 1Gbps FTTH broadband network to 5 million homes by 2025) and we don’t get much information about their mobile network either. As such the 575,000 customers figure still predominantly reflects their base of FTTC and ADSL2+ broadband lines.
On the financial front fixed service revenue grew 5.3%, mostly driven by “continued momentum in Consumer broadband” and a return to growth in Business, and overall UK service revenue for the quarter hit €1,452m (up from €1,426m). The full report is here (PDF).