Vodafone has commenced its first live trial of ‘full 5G’ in the UK, which it says is the first such trial to run completely separately from the existing 4G infrastructure.
The experiment in Salford, Greater Manchester brings 5G speeds to MediaCityUK and the surrounding area, using the 3.4GHz spectrum and Massive MIMO tech.
The telecoms giant is making use of its nationwide converged fibre network, which allows it to put 5G through its paces by using end-to-end wireless routers (via Inquirer). Vodafone says this differs from other networks’ trials, such as the EE test at Canary Wharf, which are still reliant on parts of the 4G infrastructure.
Related: What is 5G? 5G vs 4G explained
The network plans to introduce similar 5G trials in another six cities around the UK, ahead of the 5G roll out sometime next year. 60 sites in total will go live ahead of the planned nationwide roll out of the next-gen mobile data speeds.
“We are leading the roll out of 5G across the UK, starting with Greater Manchester,” said Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery. “A further six cities – Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool and London – will shortly receive full 5G too. Next year, we will bring 5G to the Scottish Highlands, Cornwall and the Lake District, among other locations.”
Vodafone, which already has 1,000 employees in Greater Manchester, is building its first innovation hub at MediaCityUK. That’s set to open next spring, with the company inviting local businesses and startups to join its 5G trials.
The first smartphones containing 5G modems are expected to land in early 2019, just in time for the big 5G switch on. Bring on those 1Gbps speeds.
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