• Tim Cosgrove

One year on from 5G launch, Vodafone first to showcase next phase of 5G technology


  • Vodafone first in the UK to showcase next phase of 5G technology with new network built at Coventry University.

  • Next phase of technology will deliver transformational benefits of 5G, including factory automation and mission-critical services.

One year on from launching 5G in the UK, Vodafone has become the first UK operator to showcase the next phase of 5G technology, with a new network built for Coventry University.

The new network, which uses what is known as ‘Standalone’ 5G technology, will be used to show the true benefits of 5G, including ultra-low latency, guaranteed speed performance, and the Internet of Things on a never-before-seen scale. Vodafone UK’s Chief Technology Officer, Scott Petty said: “This is a landmark in our 5G journey – just one year on from launch. 5G today is all about capacity and increased speeds. It’s giving people the best mobile experience ever, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg of what 5G can do.  With this new live network we’re demonstrating the future potential of 5G and how it will be so valuable to the UK economy.

“This new phase of 5G starts to deliver on the incredible capabilities of 5G that have had so much attention, but haven’t yet been brought to life. From here, we will really start to see 5G make a difference to the way organisations think about being connected, and what’s possible with connectivity in the future.”

Futuristic teaching

Coventry University, recognised for its innovation and excellence in digital teaching, will use the new 5G network to trial state-of-the-art virtual reality learning technologies to support training for student nurses and allied health professionals, as part of its ambition to be the leading university for 5G-enabled technology.

Professor John Latham CBE, Coventry University Vice-Chancellor, said: “We are delighted to be working with Vodafone to house the UK’s first standalone 5G network. This will help us continue to change and enhance the way students learn.

“Being the first university in the UK to have this next phase of 5G technology is the first step on our journey to creating a 5G campus, and we will soon be able to reveal how we will use this technology to maximise the potential of virtual reality teaching for our Health and Life Sciences students.” ​

To support the university’s 5G ambitions further, Vodafone has also installed Ericsson’s 5G Radio Dot System in the university’s Disruptive Media Learning Lab and National Transport Design Centre. The indoor technology will deliver fast, high-capacity 5G in key buildings to support its innovative teaching and learning. To deliver the UK’s first Standalone 5G network and a roadmap of future breakthrough demonstrations, Vodafone has teamed up with Ericsson, MediaTek, OPPO and Qualcomm – four technology leaders at the cutting edge of 5G development.

New opportunities

When a customer connects to 5G today, they are using a mix of 4G and 5G together. This is the first phase of 5G, and its main benefit is adding more capacity to the network, which means faster speeds and a more reliable connection. This next phase of 5G is totally independent from 4G, that’s why it’s called ‘Standalone’. It opens up far more possibilities to revolutionise how consumers and businesses will connect. Important technology features of the new network include:

  • network slicing – enabling mobile operators to offer customers dedicated portions of their network with guaranteed performance. This is important for the introduction of 5G into industries like manufacturing;

  • edge computing – bringing computing power closer to the customer, leading to much quicker network response times, which are vital for virtual and augmented reality technologies in the workplace;

  • ultra reliable, low latency communications – which will be a key part of bringing about efficiency benefits like full factory automation, and will enable mission-critical services that could enhance the performance of autonomous vehicles.

One year ago, on 3 July 2019, Vodafone switched on 5G in seven UK cities. Since launch, Vodafone has added 5G to 37 more places in the UK and massively expanded coverage in launch cities. Vodafone has also built 5G in 70 locations across Ireland, Italy, Germany and Spain, and is the only UK operator to offer 5G access when customers are roaming abroad.


Source: Vodafone

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