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Vodafone Expand 5G UK Mobile Trial and Make First Holographic Call

Thursday, September 20th, 2018 (1:12 pm) - Score 2,841

The hype train for the next generation of ultrafast 5G mobile technology, which will be able to deliver multi-Gigabit broadband speeds and faster latency to consumers, has kicked up another gear today after Vodafone confirmed they had conducted the UK’s first live holographic call using the technology.

At present Vodafone are gearing up to launch their first large-scale 5G trial in seven UK cities between October and December 2018 (here), which will reach parts of Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester. On top of that they’ve today announced that Cornwall and the Lake District (Cumbria) will also receive the service during 2019, and that they will have 1,000 5G sites by 2020.

The initial trials will make use of the recently released 3.4GHz spectrum band and aims to offer Gigabit speeds via a 5G Fixed Wireless Broadband setup to specific premises. A more traditional 5G trial for the mobile environment (Smartphones etc.) will follow later, once the necessary consumer kit has started to become available.

Until then the operator is keen to try and highlight some of the ways in which 5G may be able to do things that 4G might have struggled to achieve, which is easier said than done as 4G is already a highly capable network. As such they now claim to have conducted the first live 3D hologram call, which was made between Vodafone’s Manchester office and an event in Newbury.


The call involved England and Manchester City Women’s Football Captain, Steph Houghton MBE, appearing as the hologram and giving footballing tips to an 11-year-old Manchester City and Lionesses fan, Iris. Strictly speaking you could do this on a 4G network too, although the significantly improved latency and upstream performance of 5G should definitely have improved the experience.

Nick Jeffery, Vodafone UK Chief Executive, said:

“Vodafone has a history of firsts in UK telecoms – we made the nation’s first mobile phone call, sent the first text and now we’ve conducted the UK’s first holographic call using 5G. We also lead the industry in Internet of Things (IoT) technology, with the world’s largest dedicated global IoT network.

The initiatives we’ve launched today are designed to ensure that everyone can benefit from the digital technologies transforming how we live and work. From our customers and employees, to university students, digital entrepreneurs and businesses, we want to help people across the UK get ready for a digital future.”

Of course we’re unlikely to all be making holographic calls to one another anytime soon, particularly given the high cost of mobile data. Now for a video.

UPDATE 5:27pm

Added a video of the call above.

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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.
Leave a Comment
10 Responses
  1. Avatar Archie says:

    How low is ‘super low latency’?

    1. Avatar Lister says:

      Target seems to be 5ms or less.

  2. Avatar ash says:

    “multi-Gigabit broadband speeds” Highly unlikely, Maybe to a few people but i guarantee most will still get under 100mbps

  3. Avatar Bob2002 says:

    Holographic? Shouldn’t the image be suspended in free space? Just looks like 360 video of the player combined with augmented reality.

  4. Avatar Salek says:

    i am sure “Holographic Call” is possible with super fast broadband – not sure why you would need 5G to demonstrate, we need a compelling application for 5G

  5. Avatar Salek says:

    This also reminds me of the first video call promotion by Orange when 3G was introduced – that really took off ??
    it wasn’t all loss though – as this powered the first generation mobile data that was comparable to fixed connections,

  6. Avatar gerarda says:

    “The initiatives we’ve launched today are designed to ensure that everyone can benefit from the digital technologies transforming how we live and work.” Wouldn’t it be nice if Vodafone ensured everyone was covered for 2G before moving onto 5G?

  7. Avatar Craig Richmond says:

    Maybe they could think about sorting out their Customer Service issues first of all?

  8. Avatar Robert Scriven says:

    I think in 5 years time, maybe less, people will be ditching their landline/fttc for 4G / 5G data prices are coming down all the time.

    Ive given up on Openreach ever getting us speeds above 15mb, we are in a not spot, 1 mile from the green cab.

    If i want to upload something i tether off my Virgin 4g sim, 45 down 35 upload!

    1. Avatar Phil says:

      5G prices will not be lowered significantly, either in 5 years time or 10 years time, this is because the phone companies have to recoup all the cost of buying the spectrum licences, and all the costs for buying the equipment and upgrading sites. In 5 years time we will be having the same conversation about the new pending 6G and how fantastic that is and the amazing speeds it will achieve (never to be realised in reality), with more costs to the mobile phone companies they will be wanting to get back with profits.

      The whole mobile phone industry is driven by obsolescence, and getting people to constantly spend on upgrading their devices. By the time a G version is breaking even or making a profit with options for some money to be reinvested in expanding coverage and capacity and reducing prices to the consumer, the top of the industry chain (hardware manufacturers), who start to see sales drop as hardware is getting to saturation point, invent the next version to start the money flowing again with all new hardware required.

      I have 4G and it doesn’t do anything more or better than the 3G version did, in fact quite often it’s dropped down to 3G anyway, and it still works fine. 5G is 90% snake oil.

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