Vodafone to deliver the UK’s first 'standalone 5G' network

The announcement coincides with the first anniversary of the launch of 5G in the UK

Vodafone 5G review

Vodafone has announced that it will be the first UK operator to showcase the next phase of 5G technology by building a new standalone 5G network for Coventry University.

‘Standalone’ 5G, in this case, means that the network will be in no way reliant on 4G, according to Vodafone, rather than the current 5G setup that has customers connecting to networks “using a mix of 4G and 5G together”.

Vodafone's new 5G project will offer ultra reliable, low latency communications as well as allowing mobile operators to offer customers dedicated portions of their network with guaranteed performance through network slicing, the company explained. The network will also provide edge computing, which will bring much faster network response times, which are essential for using virtual and augmented reality.

Coventry University will be the first to use the new network as part of a new virtual reality (VR) learning option for student nurses and allied health professionals. The project will be developed in partnership with Ericsson, MediaTek, OPPO and Qualcomm.

Coventry University vice-chancellor, professor John Latham, said that the university is “delighted to be working with Vodafone to house the UK’s first standalone 5G network”.

“Being the first university in the UK to have this next phase of 5G technology is the first step on our journey to creating a 5G campus, and we will soon be able to reveal how we will use this technology to maximise the potential of virtual reality teaching for our Health and Life Sciences students,” he said.

The announcement coincides with the first anniversary of the launch of 5G in the UK. On 3 July 2019, Vodafone switched on 5G in seven UK cities: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, and London.

Vodafone UK CTO, Scott Petty called the development “a landmark in our 5G journey, just one year on from launch”.

“5G today is all about capacity and increased speeds. It’s giving people the best mobile experience ever, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg of what 5G can do. With this new live network we’re demonstrating the future potential of 5G and how it will be so valuable to the UK economy,” he said.

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