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Press Release | 25 Oct 2018

Vodafone first to switch on full 5G in the UK

Vodafone first to switch on full 5G in the UK
  • Vodafone site in Salford, Greater Manchester, now carrying live 5G trial traffic
  • 5G site to support Vodafone’s new innovation centre in collaboration with the Mayor of Greater Manchester
  • Media and tech companies, as well as digital start-ups, can try out 5G before it’s launched

Vodafone today became the first company in the UK to carry full 5G over a commercial network.

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 converged fibre network. Until now, companies have tested the technology either within a single location, or using parts of the 4G network to complete the 5G service.

Only last month Vodafone conducted the UK’s first holographic call using 5G spectrum from its Manchester office with Steph Houghton MBE, England and Manchester City Women’s Football Captain.

Providing coverage to MediaCityUK and the surrounding area, the new site in Salford is an important 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.

Vodafone is now inviting local companies and organisations to register their interest in experiencing the faster data speeds and ultra-responsiveness of 5G at its new ‘Future Ready’ innovation centre and digital incubator when it opens in Spring 2019. In partnership with the Mayor of Greater Manchester and MediaCityUK, the innovation centre will be equipped with our very latest digital technology. This includes 5G wireless routers, gigabit-capable optical-fibre links and Internet of Things (IoT) services, which can digitally connect everything from office security systems, vehicles, and household appliances to livestock and pets.

When 5G-compatible handsets and devices become available, people will be able to play games on the go in 4K resolution with little or no time lag. They will also be able to immerse themselves in augmented reality where virtual objects appear in real-life surroundings and enjoy extremely fast Internet access.

Vodafone UK Chief Executive Nick Jeffery, said: “We are leading the roll out of 5G across the UK, 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.

“We have worked closely with the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to help ensure the city is not only an economic powerhouse, but also a digital powerhouse. That is why we are making a multi-million pound investment to offer world-class communications to Greater Manchester’s thriving media and tech community, consumers and our own 1,000 or so employees who work there.”

Vodafone’s network engineers are already achieving high-speed Internet connectivity and low latency from the Salford site using Active Antenna (Massive MIMO) technology. This effectively provides multiple-data ‘channels’ from a single antenna, coupled with our 3.4GHz 5G spectrum.  Vodafone secured the largest block of this 5G spectrum at this year’s auction.

Vodafone will open up its innovation centre to winners of Vodafone Techstarter, an award for innovative technology with a social purpose. Techstarter offers a £300,000 fund through a partnership with the Vodafone Foundation and Social Tech Trust, the UK’s leading supporter of socially-motivated tech ventures.

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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