Consumers shouldn’t pay extra for 5G, Vodafone insists

Vodafone has thrown down the gauntlet to its rivals, by insisting that there’s no reason to charge consumers extra money for 5G.

The mobile operator sent its 5G network live in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London today, and Vodafone says you won’t have to pay any more for a 5G plan than you would for the equivalent 4G contract.

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It’s a huge selling point for Vodafone, which was beaten to the 5G punch by EE. EE sent its network live on May 30.

“We don’t charge a premium for 5G. No catches. This is a vital point of difference between us and our competitors,” said Max Taylor, Vodafone’s consumer director, at a press event in London today.

“To charge a premium makes a customer have to judge how often they’re going to be in a 5G area − a barrier that is not needed. One of the benefits of 5G is that it helps to provide more reliable service in congested areas. So why charge a customer a premium for a service they should already expect?”

That’s nothing short of fighting talk. Being the first mobile network to launch 5G in the UK represented a massive win for EE, but Vodafone has managed to fire back in style.

And Taylor’s reasoning does check out. After all, blanket 5G coverage could still be two or three years away.

EE has sent its 5G network live in Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Edinburgh, but you can only access 5G in very specific areas of these cities. At the time of publication, Vodafone’s 5G coverage tool isn’t working properly, but it’s more or less the same story.

Related: 5G phones

In other words, you won’t really feel the full effects of 5G for a long time yet.

“We want as many people as possible to experience 5G − no premium,” Taylor added.

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