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Vodafone has switched on its first commercial 5G sites in Ireland, activating its next-generation mobile network service in Cork, Limerick, Dublin, Galway and Waterford using standardised Ericsson-based hardware. Further locations around the country will be connected over the coming months.
Unlike in the UK, where it launched its 5G service at the beginning of July 2019, Vodafone will not offer end-users unlimited data packages, instead driving them towards upgraded 5G versions of its existing Red plans, which will start at €25 (£23) for a SIM-only package. The choice of handsets will be the same, however, with the Huawei Mate 20X 5G, and from the end of August, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G.
“As a business, we have spent the last 18 months preparing the groundwork for the launch of Ireland’s first commercial 5G network and today we begin our switch-on,” said Anne O’Leary, CEO at Vodafone Ireland.
“5G is set to revolutionise how we use and adopt technology and will have a huge impact on businesses and society in Ireland. It will bring high-speed, ultra-low latency and highly secure connectivity to a massive amount of devices, and it is a technology that will unlock a vast array of new use cases through Vodafone’s next-generation network.”
At the same time, the operator has announced a new partnership with University College Cork’s Assert Centre (Application of the Science of Simulation to Education, Research and Medical Technology) to set up a 5G incubator at its telemedicine and medical robotics training unit.
The Assert Centre oversees a spectrum of medical research to design, develop, deploy and test healthcare solutions in a simulated environment, showcasing emerging areas of medical technology, such as real-time patient monitoring, telemedicine and robotic surgery, all of which are expected to become more familiar elements of healthcare when 5G becomes widespread in the next few years.
“Vodafone Ireland has embraced the importance of this type of technology in healthcare innovation,” said Barry O’Reilly, director of Assert. “5G will revolutionise medicine with rapid connectivity of the internet of medical things [IoMT].
“This will range from advanced wearable technologies that will facilitate the care of patients at home, to immediate connectivity of new diagnostic technologies such as handheld smartphone-connected ultrasound between point of care and hospital specialists at, for example, a road traffic accident and an emergency department, to remote robotic surgery.”
Read more about 5G outside the UK
- Ericsson’s latest ConsumerLab study offers a glimpse of how Singapore consumers expect to benefit from 5G.
- 5G networks will move computing to the edge, driving adoption of hybrid cloud and hyper-converged infrastructure across Australia and New Zealand.
- The Nordic region could pioneer the commercial use of 5G, with Finland and Sweden hotbeds for the technology.