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Vodafone will test out its 5G network across seven major UK cities

Vodafone plans to fully launch its 5G network in 2020, but not before it conducts a few tests in some of the U.K.'s largest cities.

Published onJune 20, 2018

  • Vodafone announced it will kick off 5G trials in seven major U.K. cities.
  • The trials will start between October and December of this year.
  • Vodafone plans to launch its commercial 5G network sometime in 2020.

Vodafone announced 5G trials that will encompass seven of the U.K.’s 10 largest cities later this year. The trials should indicate whether Vodafone will be ready for a commercial 5G rollout sometime in 2020.

According to Vodafone, the trials will start between October and December of this year and will take place in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, and Manchester. The 5G services will supplement the existing 4G networks at 40 locations across the seven cities.

The operator is also in discussions with enterprise customers to test 5G applications in augmented and virtual reality in offices, factories, and hospitals.

Rival mobile operators EE and O2 already announced their own 5G trials for later this year in London. Vodafone claims its trial will be the “most comprehensive” because of the spectrum it owns.

Vodafone UK review: Everything you need to know (July 2019)

Back in April, Vodafone acquired most of the 3.4GHz airwaves at the Ofcom auction for a cool 378.2 million pounds (~$498.3 million). Even though Vodafone will use the spectrum to deliver faster data speeds, the operator will also use it for its wider Gigabit U.K. program that encompasses 5G.

The Gigabit U.K. program promises to deliver fiber optic services to homes and businesses through a partnership with CityFibre. Vodafone will initially deploy the program in Aberdeen, Coventry, Edinburgh, Huddersfield, Milton Keynes, Peterborough, and Stirling toward the end of 2018.

Finally, Vodafone will launch its 4G network in “several hundred” rural sites sometime this year.

Only time will tell if all of these efforts will help Vodafone capture additional market share and avoid being voted the worst mobile operator for the eighth year in a row.

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