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Vodafone just slayed a major UK 5G milestone

Vodafone has announced it has completed the UK’s first test of the new 5G spectrum across an existing live network.

Calling it ‘a major milestone in UK telecommunications’, Vodafone says it is the first time the 3.4GHz frequency awarded in Ofcom’s recent 5G auction, has been used.

The tests took place between Manchester and Vodafone’s UK headquarters in Newbury, Berkshire. It used Active Antennae tech to run the new spectrum over the existing 4G network.

Related: What is 5G?

Vodafone explains the tech as a “key building block for 5G, the system has multiple antennae to send and receive data more efficiently, boosting capacity where lots of people are connecting to the network at the same time.”

The company negated to mention the speeds it managed to achieve during the April 12 test.

2020 vision

Vodafone has wasted no time in getting the 5G tests underway. The company came up big in the spectrum auction, securing the largest slice of the 3.4GHz frequency.

This is the band expected to play the biggest role in the initial roll-out of 5G networks from around 2020.

After falling behind the likes of EE in the 4G LTE era, Vodafone will be targeting a big comeback when 5G becomes the norm.

During the spectrum auction on April 5, Telefonica, the owner of the O2 network paid £524 million to grab all spectrum on offer in the 2.3GHz band (which will work on 4G networks) and some on the 3.4GHz band.

O2 and EE bought the same amount of 3.4GHz 5G spectrum, but Three purchased the least. However, it already has a stash from its purchase of the UK Broadband ISP.

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