Vodafone has become the first mobile network in the UK to announce an official launch date for its 5G service, which will start on 3 July.
The mobile and broadband provider has revealed the seven UK cities that will initially be involved in the summer rollout. They are Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London. The company also said it plans to extend its 5G services to a further 12 cities before the end of this year – Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton.
The rollout of the next generation 5G mobile network aims to benefit consumers by offering much faster download speeds and reliable connections. Vodafone has said that 5G is capable of speeds up to 10 times that of the current technology, 4G. As well as increased speed and reliability, 5G technology also has the ability to support more devices at once and will result in less lagging between sending and receiving data.
“Offering speeds over 5G up to 10 times faster than 4G, we’ve shown commuters at busy airports and railway stations that they can download TV box sets or movies in a matter of seconds before they embark on their journey,” said Vodafone in a press release.
While Vodafone is the first mobile provider to announce an official launch date for its 5G network, it may not actually be the first to provide it. EE has already said it plans to launch 5G services this summer but has not yet confirmed an exact date, while Three has said it will launch its own services in the second half of the year and O2 has committed to launching its own network before 2020.
In order to connect to 5G, users must have a device compatible with the technology. Therefore, to go with its 5G rollout, Vodafone has announced the release of four smartphones and a home router that will be able to take advantage of the next-generation network. The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G will be offered exclusively by Vodafone from 23 May, while the Samsung S10 5G and the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G smartphones will be made available for pre-order before the end of the month. Vodafone will also be releasing the Huawei Mate X over the summer, as well as the 5G Gigacube, a home broadband router.
“We started our 5G journey more than three years ago,” said Nick Jeffery, CEO of Vodafone UK. “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.”