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Press Release | 12 Apr 2018

Vodafone UK first to test new 5G spectrum across a live network

Vodafone UK first to test new 5G spectrum across a live network

Vodafone UK today completed the first test of new 5G spectrum across an existing live network between Manchester and the company’s headquarters in Newbury, Berkshire.

Vodafone UK’s Jade Knight, Head of Network Deployment for the South, and Peter Rodriquez, Head of 5G Delivery, pictured conducting the UK’s first test of new 5G spectrum
Vodafone UK’s Jade Knight, Head of Network Deployment for the South, and Peter Rodriquez, Head of 5G Delivery, conducting the UK’s first test of new 5G spectrum*

Vodafone UK today completed the first test of new 5G spectrum across an existing live network between Manchester and the company’s headquarters in Newbury, Berkshire.

This is a major milestone in UK telecommunications, as it is the first time that the 3.4 Gigahertz (GHz) radio frequency allocated for 5G has been used in the UK. The test was carried out just a week after Vodafone secured the largest slice of 5G spectrum in Ofcom’s auction.

Vodafone UK Chief Executive Nick Jeffery said: “5G will improve the quality of our lives and transform how we work. This next generation technology will enable medical services that could save lives, from remote surgery to remote care for the elderly. It will enhance industrial applications, from automated systems to robotics, helping manufacturers across the UK boost their productivity. And it will enable families to share their experiences with loved ones wherever they are, thanks to innovations like augmented reality.

“Today’s test is just the beginning. We are now preparing our network for 5G while continuing to increase the capacity and extend the reach of our existing 4G network.”

To carry out the 5G spectrum test, Vodafone used a site at its Manchester contact centre, which houses around 1,000 customer service employees, and its offices in Newbury. The test relied on a technology known as Active Antennae or Massive MIMO combined with 3.4 GHz spectrum running over the core 4G network. A key building block for 5G, the system has multiple antennae to send and receive data more efficiently, boosting capacity where lots of people are connecting to the network at the same time.

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Notes to editors

  • *The drone in the image above enabled Vodafone UK’s Jade Knight and Peter Rodriquez to check on the status of the 5G mobile site in Newbury without having to turn the service off. Drones are used extensively by Vodafone to check the position of antennae on its 16,000 mobile sites across the UK, to ensure customers get the strongest signal possible.

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed line connections, home and office broadband and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Having made the UK’s first mobile phone call and sent the first text message, Vodafone has a history as a tech pioneer. In 2018 we made the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G, and were first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. We now have 5G in more places than anyone else, with multiple locations now live across the UK and the rest of Europe.

Today we serve more than 18 million mobile and fixed line customers in the UK, with 4G network coverage at 99%.  Our customers voted us the UK’s Best Mobile Network at the 2018 Trusted Reviews Awards – for the second year in a row. To help deliver Gigabit UK, our full-fibre broadband roll-out programme now covers 15 UK towns and cities through partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach.

Connectivity is at the heart of what we do as it gives us a huge opportunity for good. We are using our network, products, talents and technology to help society prosper and respond to significant social and environmental issues.  Our free Digital Parenting magazine is helping families and schools across the UK to navigate the online world safely. Meanwhile, the Vodafone Foundation’s work with researchers at Imperial College is developing personalised cancer treatment using the processing power of smartphones.

We are part of Vodafone Group, one of the world’s largest technology communications companies, with mobile operations in 26 countries, partnerships with mobile networks in 55 more, and fixed broadband operations in 19 markets.  As of 30 September 2019, Vodafone Group had approximately 625 million mobile customers, 27 million fixed broadband customers, and 22 million TV customers – including all of the customers in Vodafone’s joint ventures and associates.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit: www.vodafone.co.uk

 

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693

Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews

Website: https://newscentre.vodafone.co.uk

Vodafone Limited

Registered Office: Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2FN

Registered in England No: 1471587