Vodafone switched on its 5G network network today. The network is now live in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London.
The company says it is offering Vodafone Business Unlimited plans with unlimited data and 5G at same price as 4G. (Sim only for £21.66; 10Mbps). This particular Vodafone 5G service is initially only available for small businesses (“SOHOs” and SMEs).
The company is offering two 5G ready devices at launch: Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 3 alongside Samsung’s Galaxy S10. It is also offering a Huawei-built 5G ready home modem.
Anne Sheehan, Business Director of Vodafone UK, said: “Our Soho and SME customers tell us they see their data allowance as a data limit. Today, we are removing this constraint. Vodafone Business Unlimited and Business Add-Ons will provide everything businesses need to thrive, including connectivity, data, apps, services and support. It is part of our commitment to be the go-to Digital Partner for UK businesses.”
Vodafone 5G Launch: Company “Has Its Mojo Back”
Kester Mann, Director, Consumer and Connectivity, CCS Insight said in an emailed comment: “After a turbulent recent period, Vodafone finally has its mojo back.”
“Vodafone’s move into unlimited data and its decision to price 5G the same as 4G indicate the emergence of a challenger mentality. This is in sharp contrast to its traditional premium-focussed approach. It could spell bad news for Three, which has built a strategy based on challenging industry norms.”
In London, Ericsson will underpin Vodafone’s 5G coverage based on its Radio System portfolio. This includes the latest Baseband 6630 and Massive MIMO 6488 products to enable 5G on the 3.5GHz frequency. Ericsson boasts that combined with LTE, this will achieve speeds up to 10 times faster than 4G for 5G users with much lower latency.
(The company has been heavily marketing a portfolio of hardware and software that allows carriers to dynamically share spectrum between 4G and 5G carriers based on traffic demand. “For every millisecond, the split of simultaneous 4G and 5G capacity is adjusted to secure an optimal performance for any mix of 4G and 5G active devices in the network. This minimizes spectrum wastage.”)
All Vodafone’s mobile sites are connected to Vodafone RedStream, its nationwide optical fibre network. Data transfer of less than 20 milliseconds will be standard on the network, the company says, delivering even quicker times into smart factories. 5G is expected to massively boost automation and augmented reality applications.