Right now we're at the stage where all the different networks are announcing their plans for 5G trials, ahead of a proper launch over the next couple of years. O2 are turning the O2 Arena into a 5G test hub, EE are putting together a 5G network in central London, and Three has confirmed it's doing something next year. Now Vodafone has revealed some of its own plans, including a seven city 5G trial.
The goal of the 5G tests is to advance the Gigabit UK initiative, with the rollout taking place between October and December this year.Overall the network is working on 40 5G cities spread between Birmingham, Bristol, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Cardiff, and Glasgow. The network claims this is the most comprehensive 5G testing being done in the UK, thanks to the network buying the largest chunk of 5G spectrum in the recent auction.
It seems the networks have to say something about how what they're doing is better than all the rest. O2 announced its trial first, though didn't give a date, EE insists that it will be the first one to do a proper consumer 5G trial, and now Vodafone is putting its own spin on things. That's after claiming to have done the first proper full 5G test shortly after the auction. Three is doing its own thing, as confirmed by a recent 5G press briefing, though that was mostly technical information on how it's adapting its existing portfolio to better facilitate 5G coverage - plus how that means it totally has more 5G-capable spectrum than everyone else.
Vodafone has also confirmed it's been talking to enterprise customers, with the hopes of being able to test out the more advanced 5G applications like augmented and virtual reality with businesses. That said, the network says this trial is to make sure it can roll out a full commercial 5G network to customers in early 2020, alongside the release of compatible devices.
So no 2019 launch for Vodafone, but at least we know it won't be taking too long to get things ready.