Vodafone (News - Alert) this month laid out its plans to trial 5G in U.K. The service provider says it expects to launch such efforts in seven cities between October and December of this year.
The company, which won the largest block of 5G spectrum in the U.K.’s recent spectrum auction, says its engineers are now laying the groundwork for 5G at more than 40 sites in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester. It adds that customers in Aberdeen (News - Alert), Coventry, Edinburgh, Huddersfield, Milton Keynes, Peterborough and Stirling will access to Vodafone Gigafast Broadband later this year.
Both Vodafone’s 5G network and its Gigafast Broadband services will be connected by its nationwide fiber optic core network. That network, called RedStream, links 1,300 broadband exchanges and nearly 1,600 other locations. The company adds that it recently tested new photonic technology operating at core network speeds of up to 400 gigabits per second.
“We want to make 5G and new fiber broadband services available to consumers and business throughout the U.K., delivering a gigabit society for all,” Vodafone UK Chief Executive Nick Jeffery said. “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 U.K.”
The tier 1 telco also has been talking with enterprise customers about testing applications like augmented and virtual reality that can be enabled by 5G and the related fiber-based infrastructure. These applications could be used in factory, hospital, and office environments. 5G is uniquely positioned to support applications like AR/VR due to its high bandwidth and ultra low latency performance.
Vodafone’s 5G trial work is in preparation for widespread 5G. The company says it expects that to happen in 2020, when 5G devices will be widely available.
Edited by Maurice Nagle