Vodafone’s 5G network will go live to both consumers and business customers in seven cities across the UK on 3 July. In addition, the mobile network provider will offer 5G roaming in the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain over the summer.
Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, and London will be the cities first to experience the next generation mobile network technology. Vodafone says these cities will be joined by Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington, and Wolverhampton later this year.
The first 5G smartphone – the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G – will go on sale next week at Vodafone, with more rolling out over the summer months. The mobile network provider will price 5G the same as 4G for both consumers and businesses. Meanwhile, Vodafone will also offer a 5G router, offering broadband access with a fixed line connection.
“We started our 5G journey more than three years ago. We led the way in setting 5G standards to ensure phones and networks work well together. We upgraded our masts to be able to take 5G without disruption. And we were the first UK company to test 5G over our all-fibre core fixed and mobile network,” said Nick Jeffrey, Vodafone UK CEO.
“This is important. It means we can today announce the largest launch of 5G in the UK and be the first to announce 5G roaming. It means that UK businesses can lead the world in adopting 5G to boost productivity and attract investment. It means consumers can get the fastest mobile speeds ever, and it means that our public sector will be able to adopt new services to improve healthcare, social services and housing.”
To go along with the launch of 5G, Vodafone is creating digital innovation and incubator centres across the UK, while opening a technology centre at MediaCity, Salford, Greater Manchester.
Vodafone has also entered into a sponsorship and technology deal with Wasps Rugby Football Club to equip its rugby stadium and netball centre at the Ricoh Arena with 5G and internet of things (IoT) technology.