Vodafone launches UK’s first 5G SA network for consumers

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Vodafone has made a groundbreaking move by becoming the first operator in the UK to offer customers a 5G SA (5G Standalone) network.

The advanced network, known as 5G Ultra, represents a significant upgrade from the existing 5G service.

While the previous 5G technology relied partly on 4G infrastructure (referred to as 5G Non-Standalone), Vodafone’s 5G SA network has undergone a complete overhaul, making it fully upgraded and future-proofed.

Customers who signed up for a Pay Monthly contract with a compatible handset after February 24 will automatically have 5G Ultra added to their plan at no extra cost. New and upgrading customers will also have access to this advanced network.

The rollout of 5G Ultra will be conducted in phases over the summer, ensuring a seamless transition for eligible customers.

Customers with an eligible 5G Ultra device will benefit from greater 5G coverage and up to 25 percent longer battery life. Furthermore, the network offers lightning-fast 5G speeds, which are around 10 times faster than 4G.

Initially, the 5G Ultra service will be available in several locations across the UK, including London, Manchester, Glasgow, and Cardiff. However, Vodafone plans to expand its coverage to more cities in the near future, allowing a broader customer base to take advantage of this innovative network.

Vodafone customers attending the prestigious Wimbledon Tennis Championships will also have access to the 5G Ultra service, with specially upgraded masts in the area providing coverage to the courts and surrounding outdoor fan zones.

In addition to individual consumers, Vodafone is also catering to Small Office and Home Office (SOHO) business customers, recognising the potential of 5G SA in driving innovation and transforming various industries.

“We’re excited about what the future holds for our customers,” commented Nick Gliddon, Business Director, Vodafone UK.

“5G Standalone is a truly transformative technology that can have an impact on industry and businesses, especially when blended with the IoT and cloud.”

The deployment of 5G SA has far-reaching implications for society and business in the UK. With its increased efficiency, greater quality of service control, and enhanced reliability, the network can revolutionise critical operations and services.

For instance, the integration of 5G into healthcare can lead to annual savings of £1.25 billion for the NHS by 2025, enabling remote-assisted surgeries and drone delivery of medication. In sectors like manufacturing, transport, and agriculture, the adoption of 5G-enabled technology could reduce the UK’s overall emissions by four percent each year.

Additionally, the manufacturing industry could witness substantial growth, with an increase of £3.6 billion per year in Gross Value Added (GVA) by 2025 and £6.3 billion per year by 2030 through the adoption of 5G SA Mobile Private Networks (MPNs).

Vodafone’s commitment to innovation extends beyond the launch of 5G SA, as the company has been actively collaborating with partners to explore network slicing.

Network slicing allows the creation of customised virtual networks tailored to specific applications or user groups, further enhancing the flexibility and versatility of the 5G infrastructure.

By launching 5G Ultra, Vodafone has positioned itself as a leader in driving the evolution of 5G networks in Europe. The proposed merger with Three UK, if approved, would further bolster Vodafone’s capabilities, enabling the merged company to provide 5G SA coverage to more than 99 percent of the UK’s populated areas by 2034.

The potential societal and economic benefits that come with 5G SA make it a catalyst for innovation and transformation across industries, creating new digital experiences that were previously unimaginable.

(Image Credit: Vodafone)

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