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Vodafone announces 5G trials in seven UK cities

Tim Maytom
James Hope, Vodafone UK head of networks, at a 5G site in Manchester

Vodafone UK has unveiled its 'Gigabit UK' initiative that will see 5G trials run in seven cities, with rollouts starting in Q4 2018. The mobile operator is hoping that, with the advent of 5G, it will be able to offer customers 1GB per second connections whether they are at home, at work or on the move.

Engineering work has already begun to establish 5G coverage at more than 40 sites in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester. Vodafone is also in discussion with enterprise customers to test new 5G applications such as AR and VR in offices, factories and hospitals.

Vodafone secured the largest block of 5G spectrum during the UK auctions for the next generation of mobile connection, and conducted its first test across a live network just a week later. The new trial areas aim to ensure that it will be ready for the commercial launch of full 5G, which is expected to arrive in 2020.

The Gigabit UK initiative will also see Vodafone offer customers improved fixed broadband connections in seven cities - Aberdeen, Coventry, Edinburgh, Huddersfield, Milton Keynes, Peterborough and Stirling.

"We want to make 5G and new fibre broadband services available to consumers and business throughout the UK, delivering a Gigabit society for all," said Nick Jeffrey, chief executive of Vodafone UK. "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."