Vodafone’s 5G network launched in seven UK cities on Wednesday, bringing average speeds of 150 to 200 Mbps to lucky customers—and peak speeds of 1 Gbps.
That’s up to ten times faster than the speeds offered by Vodafone’s 4G network. In real world terms, it means customers can download a full HD film in around three minutes, compared to the 15 minutes it would take a 4G network to complete the same download.
The UK’s third largest mobile provider is the second to large 5G services, following EE’s pioneering of the fifth generation mobile network in May. Vodafone is keen to avoid the mistake it made with 4G, when a slow launch meant it lost customers to EE.
Vodafone’s 5G services have gone live in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, and Manchester.
The network is slated to expand to a further 12 cities—Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton—before the end of 2019.
The red network is aiming to have 1,000 5G sites live in 50 towns and cities by 2020.
Vodafone will charge the same for 5G services as it charges for its slower, 4G packages.
You’ll need a 5G-equipped handset to be able to connect to the ultrafast network. Vodafone is offering two: the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G.
Meanwhile, a Vodafone 5G GigaCube wireless router will allow you to create a hotspot with the network, with speeds and broadband that rivals fixed line broadband.
Seeking to outstrip EE, Vodafone is also offering free 5G Vodafone. Customers will be able to connect to 5G networks, where available, in Germany, Italy, and Spain for no additional charge.
Nick Jeffrey, Vodafone’s UK CEO, said on the launch: “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.”