Using a prototype device in central London, Vodafone has successfully tested a standalone pre-standard 5G in partnership with Ericsson.
The test was carried out at a central London 3.5GHz spectrum trial and is the first of its kind, according to the two companies, as one of the first steps in further collaborative work between the parties.
“We’re delighted to be the first provider to test standalone 5G in the field, however, building a 5G network will take time. Right now, we’re also modernising our network by making smarter use of our existing mobile technology to keep ahead of consumption demands and provide the mobile coverage our customers deserve,” Vodafone UK Head of Networks Kye Prigg said.
Before it deploys the technology commercially from 2020, Vodafone has said it will continue testing 5G technologies and analysing the opportunities that are available in the future.
Additionally, the project is combining different brands of mobile spectrums from around the UK with the aim of increasing capacity and boost data speeds, such as smartphone speeds in excess of 500Mbps.
The 5G test was in partnership with academics from King’s College London after engineers were able to demonstrate a number of technologies including Massive MIMO.
Carrying out the live trials will demonstrate the use of 5G services and establish how both industry and society could benefit from the technology in the future. Areas expected to benefit from 5G include factory automation, smart energy grids and remote surgery as the technology will bring quicker services to customers than 3G or 4G ever has.
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These fast and reliable technologies are becoming the essential backbone for data-hungry applications, as IoT expands into people’s homes, vehicles and the workplace and demand becomes much higher.
Marielle Lindgren, Head of Ericsson in the UK and Ireland, added: “Supporting our customers in making 5G a reality is key for us. This is a live trial in a densely populated central London urban area and the first time in the UK that we’ve been able to show pre-standard 5G working independently.
“We remain committed to advancing 5G development in the UK, working closely with leading operators and ecosystem players to enable global scale and drive the industry in one common direction.”