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Vodafone reveals its UK 5G roll-out plan for 2019

Last month, O2 announced that it would be launching its 5G network in each of the UK’s four capital cities. The month before, EE announced 16 of its own. Today, Vodafone has outdone both by revealing that it will bring 5G to 19 towns and cities before the year is out.

Originally, Vodafone had only pledged to being 5G to seven cities in 2019: London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool and Glasgow. Now it’s added an additional 12 towns and cities that will also be joining the party: Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton.

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Vodafone reckons that, should you have compatible hardware, you’ll be able to enjoy speeds that are ten times faster than current 4G connections, with a latency of under 20 milliseconds for consumers or sub-5 for businesses.

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“Our multi-billion-pound network investment and leading position in setting global standards will ensure our customers have the very latest 5G releases and technology,” said Vodafone UK CTO Scott Petty. “5G will also usher in a new era where everyone and everything is better connected, whether you are running a hotel in Portsmouth or broadcasting live at MediaCity in Salford.”

While that era may indeed be upon us, “everyone and everything” is a bit of a push — at least in 2019. Although 5G will be available in various cities across the UK, market research company IDC reckons that 99.5% of phones shipped this year won’t support it – and those that do will have a premium price that doesn’t really reflect the benefits, given the thin coverage nationwide.   

Still, if you’re absolutely determined to be ahead of the curve, then Samsung has announced a 5G version of its Galaxy S10 handset, which you’ll be able to buy from the summer onwards.