Customers in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester will become 5G test areas, with roll-outs starting between October and December this year.
They form part of an investment in building a world-class network infrastructure to support Gigabit UK, a nation where people will enjoy ultra-fast connection speeds of one gigabit per second on the move, at home or at work.
Engineers are laying the groundwork for 5G at more than 40 sites in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester. Discussions with a number of enterprise customers are also underway, with a view to testing new 5G applications such as augmented and virtual reality in offices, factories and hospitals.
Vodafone say they are able to commit to conducting the most comprehensive 5G trial announced to date after winning the largest block of 5G spectrum in the recent auction, and having conducted the first UK test of this spectrum across a live network a week later. The upcoming trials will ensure that they are ready for the commercial launch of full 5G, which is expected to arrive early in 2020 to coincide with a wide choice of compatible phones and devices.
Their Gigabit UK programme also involves offering customers superior fixed broadband using gigabit-capable ‘full fibre’ connections all the way to people’s homes and offices. Seven cities - Aberdeen, Coventry, Edinburgh, Huddersfield, Milton Keynes, Peterborough and Stirling – will receive Vodafone Gigafast Broadband, starting towards the end of 2018.
Both 5G and Vodafone Gigafast Broadband services will be connected by RedStream, which currently links 1,300 broadband exchanges and nearly 1,600 other locations such as retail parks, new builds and business premises. Vodafone recently tested new ‘photonic’ technology capable of carrying information over the core network at speeds of up to 400 Gigabits per second.
Vodafone UK Chief Executive Nick Jeffery said: “We want to make 5G and new fibre broadband services available to consumers and business throughout the UK, delivering a Gigabit society for all. We will also be bringing ultra-fast 4G to several hundred sites in hard to reach rural areas this year, building on our position as the network that offers the best voice coverage in the UK.”
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