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Vodafone UK Give 5G Launch a Boost by Adding Unlimited Data

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019 (12:57 pm) - Score 11,573
vodafone mast and logo

ISP Vodafone has today gone live in 7 UK cities with their new 5G based ultrafast mobile broadband network. At the same time they’ve moved to challenge Three UK by introducing a new range of SIM-only and handset plans with “unlimited data” (also on 4G services). A new home broadband (FTTC) and mobile bundle is coming too.

At present the service, which harnesses Vodafone‘s slice of the 3.4GHz spectrum band, is only available across parts of Cardiff, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Glasgow (the Isles of Scilly are also on the list). After that a further 12 cities will be added later in 2019 including Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington, Wolverhampton and the operator’s home town of Newbury.

The operator has also confirmed that their 5G service will be priced the same as 4G for both consumers and business customer, although they’ve now gone one step further by announcing a new range of three “unlimited data” plans that seem firmly intended to erode Three UK’s niche.

The catch is that you’ll only get the best mobile broadband speeds on their most expensive plan, while the other two have heavily restricted maximum speeds of 2Mbps and 10Mbps. Sadly the new unlimited plans won’t go on sale until 10th July 2019 next week.

The New UK Unlimited Data Plans (Monthly Prices)

Unlimited Max (£30) – Maximum network speed possible

Unlimited (£26) – Maximum speeds of up to 10Mbps

Unlimited Lite (£23) – Maximum speeds of up to 2Mbps

On top of that Vodafone has said that they’ll launch a new home broadband (FTTC) and unlimited mobile plan bundle toward the end of this month, which will all be managed from the My Vodafone App.

Customers of the above should receive a free Amazon Echo Plus and can use Alexa calling to make and receive calls out of their mobile allowances. Prices will start from £50 a month for Unlimited Max and Vodafone Superfast Broadband 1 (FTTC). Cheaper options may be available with smaller mobile allowances from £43.

NOTE: Those who opt for an 18-month SIM-only plan or any handset package with home broadband can enjoy a £3 Vodafone Together discount. Families can benefit from a further 15% off any additional mobile plan added to the account.

Elsewhere they’ve also confirmed that during this summer they will become the first UK operator to add 5G roaming in Germany, Italy and Spain. Other countries will follow as 5G is rolled out, although equally we’d expect the same to follow from EE, Three UK and O2.

NOTE: Vodafone say they’re using Ericsson’s 5G Radio System technology.

Nick Jeffery, CEO of Vodafone UK, 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.”

The operator added that it will continue to invest in rolling out 5G over the next few years, with the aim of covering at least 8 million consumers by 2021. Apparently they have also “installed 100-gigabit-per-second capable optical fibre connections to our 5G base stations,” although we have our doubts about whether this will hold true for all of their future base station deployments or even small cells.

In addition to Vodafone Unlimited, three new simplified Vodafone Red plans are also available from 10th July. Called Red 1 (1GB, £11), Red 2 (5GB, £15) and Red 3 (20GB, £20), they all have unlimited minutes and texts. Customers can also add an entertainment pack for £6 extra a month (i.e. choose from Spotify, Amazon Prime Video, Sky Sports Mobile or Now TV).

Finally, they will offer a 5G router for use in the home and office (fixed wireless broadband) called the 5G GigaCube, which is promising to give customers “high-speed broadband access up to 10 times faster than 4G.” Prices will start from £30 per month (18 month contract) for a 100GB service or £50 for unlimited (a one-off upfront fee of £50 to £100 also applies) and the Huawei made GigaCube can connect up to 64 devices via WiFi.

NOTE: A 30 day contract option also exists for the 5G GigaCube plans but the upfront charge jumps to £325!

5G GigaCube Specs (Huawei 5G CPE Pro – H112-370LTE|5G(NSA))

Network: 5G/LTE

Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax

802.11 n22*2 MIMO for 2.4GHz and

802.11ax4*4MIMO for 5GHz

Ethernet ports: 2 x GE LAN (inc. 1 LAN/WAN)

Memory: 4GB NANDFlash/8GB DDR4

External antenna port: 2 x Ext. antenna ports (TS-9)

SIM port: 1 x nano USIM card slot

Device model: Huawei 5G CPE Pro (H112-370)

Dimensions: 99mm x 107mm x 215mm

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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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35 Responses
  1. Avatar Matthew

    Unlimited Max seems slightly to good to be true have been considering moving to Vodafone when my contract EE contract runs out this has me even more interested

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      Unfortunately this may see speeds drop significantly though if taken up by the download the internet every night brigade.

    • Yes but then why bother doing 5G and ultrafast speeds at all unless you’re going to feed it with plenty of data flexibility. Tricky balance.

    • Avatar Matthew

      @new_londoner Certainly a challenge to EE though Vodafone Unlimited 5G £30 EE 20GB 5G £32 and if i remember right Vodafone has more 5G spectrum at the moment then EE.

    • Avatar Mike

      It may be too good to be true, hunting around in the T&C area there seems to be mentions of a potential AUP/FUP.

  2. Avatar SuperFast Dream

    I don’t think Three UK are far behind (https://hexus.net/mobile/news/service-providers/132290-three-announces-uks-fastest-5g-will-launch-august/) perhaps their pricing plans and unlimited data (when announced) may be a little keener?

  3. Avatar Fred

    is the Unlimited Max only on a 18 month contract?

  4. Avatar Stephen Wakeman

    No price premium for 5G but then capping speeds to 2Mb and 10Mb is like offering a free hire car upgrade to a Ferrari but saying you can only use first gear. Given that with 5G you trade reliability and signal robustness for speed and low latency. To me that is a really cheesy marketing ploy.

    The Max offering seems to be the polar opposite, in that it is suspiciously generous for what it costs. Happy to be wrong about that one.

    • Avatar Lexx

      This is how it’s sold in some other county’s (speed not by data for both mobile and broadband)

      so if you want 1gb speeds you pay for that if you want 20mb you pay far less

      I agree the 2mb package is mostly useless for only music and 720p30/480p video (or if the bitrate is below 1.8mb) YouTube likely pick 480p

      But the 10mb and max package is plenty for 1080p60 YouTube or twitch live streaming at 6mb or anything els (1440p I believe no on 10mb but really apart for Burning your data 1080p to 1440p is hardly noticeable)

      Never used Vodafone my self so be interesting to try out

      this might make ee change there packages as well as ee was mostly ignoring 3 “true” unlimited mobile data (and I guess virgin media 3.7mb speed capped twitch and youtube unlimited data) now a player with more coverage vodafone it might make ee go actual unlimited data speed capped options (not like they don’t have the largest slice of 4g frequencies currently)

      Unsure about smarty unlimited data if it’s actually unlimited or speed capped

  5. Avatar Meadmodj

    This Vodafone pricing appears to indicate high speed 5G phones, modems and routers are going to fall much quicker than I expected and if we do move to unlimited then the dynamics for fixed broadband really are in for a change except where mobile coverage is poor.
    Surely this has to have a short to medium term affect on urban overbuild business cases as basically a considerable percentage of individuals will be (within 18 months) walking around with their own network and tethering devices to it as they need (Phone, Car, TV, Laptop etc). Yes demand for greater household broadband speed will increase by 2030 but if each person has enough for what they are personally doing 24/7 then why pay more for fixed broadband until then.
    I do understand of course mobile data capacity is finite but this is a significant change if Voda, Three and EE all introduce competitive products and prices do not drift upwards too much after the initial excitement.

  6. Avatar Steve

    I live 1 mile away from the city centre of one of the launch cities (Glasgow) and have zero 5g coverage lol

  7. Avatar Declan

    2 Mbps plan use to who ? No one.

    • Avatar Blueacid

      I disagree with you there..
      I could imagine a lot of people using it; most of my data use is streaming audio. Spotify, podcasts, audio etc. I seldom use Youtube, Netflix or iPlayer.
      Over the top of those, I use a lot of chat, plus a chunk of internet browsing.

      It’s only the internet browsing which I think would suffer for it; everything else should be fine. Especially if it’s a reliable 2mbps.

      I imagine truckers, sales reps etc might well make heavy use of this. Equally, if you don’t care about the picture quality for streaming video, I imagine that cheap slow unlimited plan might be appealing – maybe a good shout for parents with kids.

      I think if it’s 2mbps, but with a decent latency it’ll feel a lot quicker than a congested 3G or 4G mast that’s barely managing to accomplish 2mbps throughput.

    • Avatar Name

      @Blueacid
      Goodluck with “relaliable” 2Mbps and YT, iPlayer and Netflix. Maybe in 244p.

    • Avatar Web Dude

      I would find it a pain to be limited to 2 Mbps, but a few might be fine with it.

      However, considering Three offerings with unlimited data, there’s little to attract me to use Vodafone. If I can get unlimited at a reasonable price and speed, then people wanting more speed can go clog up 5G and I’ll Happily stick with 4G.

    • Avatar Lexx

      For £2 more I just get the 10mb one as 2mb is to limiting, the 10mb won’t have problems with 10mb package (1080p60 easy) assuming they have the capability on 4g

  8. Avatar Mike

    Considering I had zero expectations of Vodafone I am actually mildly impressed.

    Hopefully if O2 can also make a good offering EE will be forced to be more reasonable.

  9. Avatar Ge

    Do you all realise how bad this is? It is so harmful not only mentally, but also physically.

    • Avatar dragoneast

      5G is the Sword of Exalibur, for which the British have been hunting desperately for centuries.

    • Avatar dave

      One of the problems with the rise in popularity of the internet over the last 20 years is the ability for what would otherwise be isolated, severely mentally ill (delusional – e.g schizophrenia, paranoid, etc) people, to ‘meet’ online. Thus we end up with “5G is weapons grade dangerous!”, anti-vax propaganda and all the other nonsense which rears its ugly head on a regular basis.

      Even worse is when people in positions of authority give these sick people the time of day and intentionally or not, appearing to give their beliefs some validity.

  10. Avatar Alex Reid

    I personally think it should be

    5 not 2
    15 not 10

    but whatever i suppose.

    • Avatar Joe

      I suspect they are advertising low speeds since if they were to advertise anything higher they would be penalised by regulators for not being able to consistently deliver near to such speeds (mobile networks are notoriously patchy). Giving such low numbers likely is consistently achievable in every UK location though. For their full speed they cleverly don’t mention a specific number to avoid any scrutiny. Just my two pennies.

  11. Avatar Sam Skellern

    Yet another launch with Amazon Alexa toys thrown in! Is Amazon paying for this?

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