Vodafone switched on its 5G network in Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Isles of Scilly, Newbury, Liverpool, and London, becoming the second company after EE which launched in May.
The other locations set to received 5G by the end of 2019 are:
Vodafone has invested over £2bn into developing its 5G network, which uses fibre cables, to access data at a rate between 1GB-10GB per second, which is at least 10 times faster than 4G which is at 100MB per second. 5G also has a much lower latency, time it takes to transfer data, at 1milisecond, which is 50x faster than on 4G at 50miliseconds. This means that websites will load at a seemingly instantaneous rate and streaming and downloading will happen in a matter of seconds as opposed to minutes or even hours with no lag. 5G also has more capacity, meaning a stronger service signal which is less likely to drop out.
People can currently choose from two 5G smartphones, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 and the Samsung S10 5G. There is also the option of purchasing the GigaCube, a 5G router with access up to 10 times faster than 4G. Prices start at £30 for the router and handset, 5G is charged at no extra cost.
5G is also available for roaming in Germany, Italy and Spain.
Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery said: “5G will transform the way we live and work. Our customers are streaming over 50% more content today than they did last year, and with 5G the demand for data is only set to increase. That is why we want to remove the limits on data, so that customers can unlock the full potential of 5G, and we can really propel the UK into the digital age. By offering unlimited plans to our consumer and business customers, we will revolutionise the market. We will give customers all the data they need, when and where they want it.”
Vodafone celebrated the launch with the world’s first demonstration of touch via haptic technology which transmits the experience of touch through vibrations, motions or force. Two players from Wasps rugby team ran a training session despite being more than 100 miles apart. The impact of a rugby tackle made by Will Rowlands at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry was transferred via 5G to teammate Juan de Jongh on stage in London. Juan was able to feel the impact in a specially designed Teslasuit, a full body haptic suit for motion capture and training, in real time because of the 5G connection.
Vodafone also recently opened the doors of its Innovation Hub at The Landing in Media City UK, a space that used the 5G network before the launch and provides a space for businesses and SMEs to innovate in a semi-coworking environment. The Landing currently has teams working on the development of AI, cloud testing and IOT, which has been underpinned by the development of 5G.
At the opening of the Innovation Hub, Paul Dennett, city mayor of Salford, said that 5G is “the underpinning of the 4th industrial revolution”.