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Vodafone – 7 UK Cities to Test Gigabit 5G Mobile Broadband in 2018 UPDATE

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018 (9:42 am) - Score 3,197
vodafone mast and logo

Mobile operator Vodafone has countered EE’s announcement of a 5G trial in London (here) by confirming that they too will be testing the future 1Gbps capable mobile technology between October and December 2018, albeit in 7 UK cities: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester.

Sadly at the time of writing Vodafone hasn’t told us anything about their proposed network setup or what spectrum band they will be trialling (we have asked), although they’ve already made use of both the 3.4GHz and 3.5GHz bands in recent tests (here and here).

We suspect that the operator’s forthcoming deployment will be more focused on delivering “ultrafast” Gigabit speeds via a 5G Fixed Wireless Broadband setup to specific premises, rather than one for the more traditional mobile environment (the necessary end-user kit, such as mobile handsets, simply doesn’t exist yet).

Otherwise Vodafone said that their engineers are already laying the groundwork for 5G at more than 40 sites in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester. Discussions with a number of “enterprise customers” (no mention of residential homes) are said to be underway, with a view to testing new 5G applications such as augmented and virtual reality in offices, factories and hospitals.

Nick Jeffery, CEO of Vodafone UK, said:

“We want to make 5G and new fibre broadband services available to consumers and business throughout the UK, delivering a Gigabit society for all. We will also be bringing ultra-fast 4G to several hundred sites in hard to reach rural areas this year, building on our position as the network that offers the best voice coverage in the UK.”

The new mobile platform will be designed to complement their roll-out of a new Gigabit capable “full fibre” (FTTH) broadband ISP network with Cityfibre, which is currently planned to reach across the cities of Aberdeen, Coventry, Edinburgh, Huddersfield, Milton Keynes, Peterborough and Stirling (deployment is starting in 2018 and completing by around 2021). Further FTTH cities are due to be announced.

Apparently both their 5G and Vodafone Gigafast Broadband services will be connected by a nationwide, all optical fibre core network called RedStream, which currently links 1,300 broadband exchanges and nearly 1,600 other locations such as retail parks, new builds and business premises.

Vodafone added that they’ve recently tested new a “photonic” (optical fibre) technology capable of carrying information over the core network at speeds of up to 400Gbps (Gigabits per second).

UPDATE 11:21am

We’ve had it confirmed that Vodafone’s 5G test will use the recently released 3.4GHz spectrum band and will deliver a fixed wireless broadband service.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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10 Responses
  1. Avatar Mike

    Only downside is it looks like I’ll need a new antenna.

  2. Avatar Skyrocket

    Not many mobile phones has 5G support yet

  3. Avatar simon

    With a S9+ I know I am 1Gbps capable – I tested EE when they were offering 300 down and it worked (remember?) I will be out testing this on VF and will report back here – My tests are in Cardiff and Bristol/Brum

  4. Avatar un4h731x0rp3r0m

    “… with a view to testing new 5G applications such as augmented and virtual reality in offices, factories and hospitals…”

    Augmented and virtual reality in a factory environment… WTF i can just imagine the carnage in a factory with everyone having their mobile phone in a cardboard box strapped to their head. Its bad enough the accidents which can happen just due to people texting and not paying attention let alone this.

    I sincerely hope someone hunts the internet for ‘klaus the forklift driver’ and shows them what can happen when you are not paying attention in a factory 😀

  5. Avatar Phil

    I think it would be fairer to call these trials 4.5G, and it’s mostly about the propagation and coverage results of using the new higher frequencies than anything else, as most of the improvements with 5G are available in hardware yet, and it wouldn’t surprise me if these trials are simply 4G but using the higher frequencies.

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