Vodafone plans to start offering 5G service in seven cities across the United Kingdom on July 3 at current pricing levels. The multi-national operator says it will also offer 5G roaming in Germany, Italy, and Spain later in the summer.
The first cities to get 5G service include Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, and London. The operator’s 5G network will expand to a dozen additional cities — Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington, and Wolverhampton — by the end of 2019.
“We started our 5G journey more than three years ago. We led the way in setting 5G standards to ensure phones and networks work well together,” Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery said in a prepared statement. “We were the first UK company to test 5G over our all-fiber core fixed and mobile network. It means that UK businesses can lead the world in adopting 5G to boost productivity and attract investment.”
The operators says it will open innovation and incubation centers across the country, including a new center in the Manchester metropolitan area and a 5G facility at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. Vodafone UK plans to equip the rugby stadium with 5G and IoT technology to demonstrate new connected experiences for businesses to provide fans at the venue.
Vodafone UK’s 5G deployment update comes on the heels of other 5G launch plans from its competitors including EE, which described the launch of its 5G network as “imminent.” Three UK also said its second 5G site has gone live in central London and plans to start making services available to customers in the second half of the year. Telefonica-owned O2 UK also plans to launch 5G sometime this year.
Vodafone UK says it will release four 5G smartphones and a 5G home router, starting with the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G on May 23, followed shortly by the Samsung S10 5G and Huawei Mate 20X (5G).