Remember the arrival of 4G? It took some time to land in the UK. EE was first out of the starting blocks with a launch of its network in October 2012, paving the way for a host of Kevin Bacon-fronted commercials and the advent of bufferface, the expression you make when a site is loading on your phone. At the time, other networks were embroiled in a bidding war for coverage. But the tables have turned with a new 5G announcement.
Vodafone has become the first operator in the UK to reveal its 5G agenda. The network will flip the switch on 5G on Wednesday July 3 2019, at which time seven cities – London, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool – will gain access to the successor of 4G.
The network will also launch 5G in Germany, Italy and Spain over the summer, which it’s called a “worldwide first”. And later in the year, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guilford, Portsmouth, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent and Wolverhampton will be among the 12 other UK locations announced to receive the next-generation mobile broadband.
Businesses and consumers alike will be served 5G at launch, while a 5G router will also be available to provide offices and homes with high-speed broadband. The news will likely be particularly welcomed by entrepreneurs – O2 previously revealed that 5G should create productivity savings of £6bn for the UK. Presumably Vodafone saw the report, hence its plan to charge forward.
Vodafone CEO Nick Jeffery noted that its 5G launch has been three years in the making, with masts upgraded to “take 5G without disruption” making it “the first UK company to test 5G over our all-fibre core fixed and mobile network.”
Jeffery added: “This is important. It means we can today announce the largest launch of 5G in the UK and be the first to announce 5G roaming. It means that UK businesses can lead the world in adopting 5G to boost productivity and attract investment.”
The 5G switch-on is exciting news and shows the UK continues to push forward as a global tech powerhouse. However, we should all expect that there will be some hiccups alongside the rollout – after all, while Vodafone announced 5G, Virgin Mobile was in the middle of a service outage.