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Vodafone confirms 5G network to go live in seven UK cities on 3 July 2019

Mobile network operator claims pricing will be on a par with existing 4G network connectivity, as new research suggests business users are already prepping for the UK launch of 5G.

Vodafone has confirmed its 5G network will go live in seven cities across the UK on 3 July 2019, with several more set to be added to the list by the end of the year.

The mobile network operator said businesses and consumers in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London will be among the first to reap the benefits of its superfast networking going live later this summer.

By the end of 2019, the company said its 5G services will be live in a dozen cities across the UK, and will be priced the same as the 4G services it currently provides to users in these locations.

Nick Jeffery, CEO of Vodafone, said the announcement is three years in the making, which is when the firm first started prepping for the launch of its 5G network.

“We started our 5G journey more than three years ago,” he said. “We led the way in setting 5G standards to ensure phones and networks work well together. We upgraded our masts to be able to take 5G without disruption. And we were the first UK company to test 5G over our all-fibre core fixed and mobile network.”

“It means UK businesses can lead the world in adopting 5G to boost productivity and attract investment. It means consumers can get the fastest mobile speeds ever, and it means that our public sector will be able to adopt new services to improve healthcare, social services and housing.”

As well as bringing 5G connectivity to UK cities, Vodafone confirmed it will also be offering 5G roaming services in the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain over the summer.

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News of the imminent 5G network switch-on at Vodafone comes at a time when industry debate continues to grow about what the killer use case for the superfast network is likely to be, and how much appetite there is among consumers for the technology.

From a business user’s perspective, research published on Tuesday 14 May 2019 by the IT professionals networking community Spiceworks suggests there is a fair proportion of businesses across the UK and US already preparing for its arrival.

According to the organisation’s 2019 State of corporate connectivity report, which features responses from more than 700 technology buyers across the UK and US, just under a third (32%) of businesses are planning to invest in 5G-enabled devices once services go live in their area. Of these, 55% said they plan to purchase these devices within a year of the network going live in their locality.

In terms of the types of 5G-enabled devices they will be investing in, 83% indicated a preference for smartphones, 44% said modems, 42% stated tablets, while 7% flagged investing in internet of things devices as a post-launch investment priority.

Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks, said the results suggest that as the availability of 5G services spreads, competition between the telco and internet service provider (ISP) communities is likely to grow accordingly.

“New 5G service can allow ISPs to extend their reach and offer high-speed broadband service to new cities and neighbourhoods without having to incur last-mile expenses associated with physically connecting homes and businesses,” he said.

“As a result, 5G will likely spark more competition among ISPs, ultimately benefiting businesses in 5G coverage zones.”

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