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Vodafone switches on 5G network

Vodafone switches on 5G network

Vodafone is offering just two handsets to accompany its 5G network launch Vodafone has become the second UK mobile operator to switch on its 5G network – just over a month after EE launched the UK’s first 5G network. The ‘on’ switch was flicked at an event in London today, with parts of London, Manchester,

Vodafone switches on 5G network

Vodafone is offering just two handsets to accompany its 5G network launch

Vodafone has become the second UK mobile operator to switch on its 5G network – just over a month after EE launched the UK’s first 5G network.

The ‘on’ switch was flicked at an event in London today, with parts of London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Cardiff, Bristol and Liverpool becoming the first on Vodafone’s network to offer 5G services. The network promises average broadband speeds of between 150Mbps and 200Mbps compared to a typical real-world download speed of 20Mbps for 4G.

However, most subscribers are unlikely to enjoy full-speed 5G from Vodafone as the company is selling subscription plans by download speed, rather than data allowances.

The £23 ‘Unlimited Lite’ plan will offer maximum speeds of just 2Mbps, while a £26 ‘Unlimited’ tariff will top-out at 10Mbps. If neither of these seem worthwhile, the £30 per month ‘Unlimited Max’ tariff will offer what Vodafone has described as “the fastest speeds”, whatever they prove to be.

Twelve more conurbations will be added to Vodafone’s 5G network before the end of the year, the company has promised: Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent.

In addition to building out its network as fast as possible, Vodafone is also planning to attract customers by offering 5G roaming across the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain this summer, meaning that 5G subscribers can use their inclusive minutes, texts and, most important of all, broadband without incurring roaming charges.

However, anyone wishing to get their hands on a 5G handset won’t be spoilt for choice. At the moment, Vodafone is only offering 5G on two handsets: the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G. Earlier this year, it had also planned to offer the Huawei Mate 20X 5G and the folding Huawei Mate X, but it’s unclear whether it will do so now for one reason or another.

Vodafone will also offer a 5G Gigacube home router later this year in competition with Three UK’s 5G Home Broadband offering.

Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery was suitably enthusiastic at the launch today: “We can today announce the largest launch of 5G in the UK and be the first to announce 5G roaming.

“It means that UK businesses can lead the world in adopting 5G to boost productivity and attract investment. It means consumers can get the fastest mobile speeds ever, and it means that our public sector will be able to adopt new services to improve healthcare, social services and housing.”

Vodafone used to be the runaway market leader in the UK but has fallen behind both BT-owned EE and O2 in recent years, partly due to its poor record for customer service. It now has a 21 per cent market share against 28 per cent for BT/EE, 26 per cent for O2 and 12 per cent for Three UK.

In the latest Ofcom rankings, Vodafone comes joint last with Virgin Media in terms of whether existing customers would recommend them.

Last month, MPs debated 5G’s potential role as an insect-killing  carcinogen that could fuel global warning due to electromagnetic radiation

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