Vodafone selects seven UK cities for 5G trials in late 2018

Rolling out from October, the UK network operator labels its 5G testing 'the most comprehensive to date'

Seven UK cities have been identified as the first locations in which its 5G will be trialled, with initial tests expected to roll out towards the end of the year.

As part of Vodafone's wider investment in networking infrastructure across the country, the mobile phone operator will begin testing 5G at more than 40 sites in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, and London.

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Due to roll out between October and December 2018, Vodafone is also locked in discussions with its business customers over introducing new 5G-ready applications in the realm of bringing augmented and virtual reality technology to offices, hospitals and factories.

"We want to make 5G and new fibre broadband services available to consumers and business throughout the UK, delivering a Gigabit society for all," said Vodafone's chief executive Nick Jeffery.

"We will also be bringing ultra-fast 4G to several hundred sites in hard to reach rural areas this year, building on our position as the network that offers the best voice coverage in the UK."

The announcement follows Vodafone's success in Ofcom's auctioning of the 5G radio spectrum earlier this year, with the network operator spending the most of any rival bidder, 378 million, on securing a 50Mhz slice of the 3.4GHz spectrum.

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The UK's telecommunications regulator had invited bids from fellow operators including O2, EE, and Three, and Airspan Spectrum Holdings, with the first 5G auction raising in total approximately 1.35 billion - said to be around 350 million more than anticipated at the start of the auction.

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"Our job is to release these airwaves quickly and efficiently, and we want to see them in use as soon as possible," Philip Marnick, Ofcom's spectrum group director said when the auction was first announced in March.

"We are glad the auction is now underway. This spectrum will help improve people's experience of using mobile broadband today, and also help companies prepare for future 5G services."

Vodafone has labelled its announcement "the most comprehensive 5G trial announced to date" with a view to meeting its target for commercially launching 'full 5G' across the UK by 2020, to coincide with the wider availability of 5G-compatible devices.

Image: Vodafone

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