Vodafone said it aims to trial 5G technology in seven UK cities this year
U.K telecom operator Vodafone claimed to be the first carrier in the country to carry full 5G over a commercial network.
The telco said that live mobile data traffic is now being streamed to and from the Internet exclusively over 5G from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester, connected to Vodafone’s nationwide fiber network. Until now, companies have tested 5G technology either within a single location, or using parts of the 4G network to complete the 5G service, Vodafone said.
Vodafone’s network engineers are already achieving high-speed Internet connectivity and low latency from the Salford site using Massive MIMO technology.
Last month, Vodafone conducted the UK’s first holographic call using 5G spectrum from its Manchester office.
The operator highlighted that the new site in Salford is a key step in connecting businesses and consumers with 5G technology. It is enabling Vodafone to test the technology end-to-end using wireless routers and forms part of its 5G trial in seven cities this year.
“We are leading the roll out of 5G across the U.K, starting with Greater Manchester. A further six cities – Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool and London – will shortly receive full 5G too. Next year, we will bring 5G to the Scottish Highlands, Cornwall and the Lake District, among other locations,” said Vodafone U.K. CEO Nick Jeffery.
Vodafone is now inviting local companies and organizations to express their interest in experiencing 5G technology at its new “Future Ready” innovation center and digital incubator, which will open in the spring of 2019. The new facility in Manchester will include 5G wireless routers, gigabit-capable optical-fiber links and internet of things services.
Vodafone plans to commercially launch 5G services in the U.K in 2020, the telco has previously said. Its initial 5G trials will allow the company to start limited deployments in dense urban areas in some markets during 2019.
In April, Vodafone tested the 3.4 GHz radio spectrum band on a live 5G network, which ran between Manchester and the company’s headquarters in Newbury. In order to carry out the 5G spectrum test, Vodafone used a site at its Manchester contact center, which houses around 1,000 customer service employees, and its offices in Newbury. The test relied on massive MIMO technology combined with 3.4 GHz running over the telco’s core 4G network.
Earlier this year, U.K. telcos obtained spectrum for the future provision of 5G services. Vodafone won 50 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.4GHz band after paying £378 million ($498 million). BT-owned EE won 40 megahertz for which it paid £303 million. Three secured 20 megahertz of 3.4 GHz spectrum at a cost of £151.3 million, while Telefónica-owned O2 picked up 40 megahertz for £318m.
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