Vodafone’s 5G service will be turned on in the UK on the 3rd of July, the company has revealed – marking the first confirmed 5G launch date.
Upon its launch, businesses and customers in a host of cities across the UK will be able to sign up and reap the benefits of faster, more reliable data speeds.
Seven cities will be included in the initial 5G rollout, the telecoms firm said, with Glasgow, London, Liverpool and Manchester among the first. Services will also be extended to a number of towns and cities across England by the end of the year, Vodafone confirmed.
Users of the service will require a 5G compatible smartphone or router to access the technology, which offers significant benefits over current 4G connections, including lower latency and greater device support.
Price details will be released next week, Vodafone said in a statement. Initially, however, prices are expected to be around the same as 4G deals.
In a world first, the company said it will also offer 5G roaming in four countries over the summer, with customers benefiting in the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffrey said: “We started our 5G journey more than three years ago. 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.”
Questions still remain over the use of Chinese-made technology in the UK’s 5G infrastructure networks, though. The UK Government is currently in the process of reviewing whether to block the use of Huawei kit over cybersecurity concerns.
Last month, a government leak revealed that network providers will be able to use Huawei-made radio access network (Ran) equipment.
Vodafone confirmed that it uses 5G Ran equipment also made by Ericsson, therefore it is not entirely reliant on Huawei equipment.
If a ban were to be imposed on the use of Huawei equipment, this could dent the company’s plans for 5G network extensions later this year due to the extensive process of having to strip down its networks of Huawei gear.