Vodafone has announced the activation of its first full 5G New Radio (NR) network in the UK, opening its commercial network in Salford, Greater Manchester, to live 5G traffic for the first time.
The network launch, which follows on from last month’s demonstration of a live ‘holographic’ video call carried via 5G from Vodafone’s Manchester office to its Newbury headquarters, sees live mobile traffic being carried exclusively via 5G to Vodafone’s fibre network – the first time in the UK the cellular portion of such a test network has been wholly 5G, rather than relying on portions of existing 4G networks.
“We are leading the roll out of 5G across the UK, starting with Greater Manchester. A further six cities – Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool and London – will shortly receive full 5G too. Next year, we will bring 5G to the Scottish Highlands, Cornwall and the Lake District, among other locations,” explains Nick Jeffery, chief executive of Vodafone UK, of his company’s plans for next-generation connectivity.
“We have worked closely with the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to help ensure the city is not only an economic powerhouse, but also a digital powerhouse. That is why we are making a multi-million pound investment to offer world-class communications to Greater Manchester’s thriving media and tech community, consumers and our own 1,000 or so employees who work there.”
The test network provides coverage to MediaCityUK and the surrounding area, and the company is inviting local companies to test out 5G connectivity ahead of its commercial availability when the company opens its innovation centre in early 2019.
According to Vodafone’s internal testing the network has already shown high-speed and low-latency throughput, using active antenna massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology to provide multiple data channels on a single physical antenna.