Service Providers

Vodafone details first 5G cities in UK and Spain

16 May 2019

European telecom Vodafone confirmed its plans to launch 5G services in seven U.K. cities starting in July and seven cities in Spain later this year.

The seven cities Vodafone will launch in the U.K. include Glasgow, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff and Bristol. Later this year, Vodafone said it will roll out 5G service to Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton.

The 5G phones that will be available in the U.K. either at launch or later this year include the ubiquitous Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, which is already available in the U.S. and Korea. Other phones are the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G and Huawei Mate X, both already available for preorder in Switzerland, and the Huawei Mate 20X.

Meanwhile, Vodafone will be rolling out 5G services to Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Bilbao, Málaga, Valencia and Zaragoza in Spain this year, according to Spanish newspaper El Economista. While there are no dates available for when services may go live, the launch of service in the U.K. may be a barometer for when service is Spain will be available. Even less information is available about what Vodafone Spain will be offering in terms of smartphones.

5G is the next generation of mobile networking that works at higher frequencies for faster internet connections, lower latency and enabling a new range of applications to be developed such as holographic calls, remote healthcare, cloud-based augmented reality gaming and smart cities.

In order to connect to a 5G network, users must have a 5G compatible smartphone and a 5G plan. They also need to be located in an area that has 5G coverage. If Vodafone follows suit with other carriers, the coverage will initially be quite limited to only a handful of regions with future rollout expected to come later in 2019 and the next few years.

Much like other 5G rollouts in the U.S., South Korea and Switzerland, if a 5G compatible phone doesn’t have 5G coverage, the phone will swap to either 4G, 3G or 2G depending on the available signal. The phone will reconnect to 5G when it is back in a 5G service area. However, it is still unclear how this handoff will happen and whether it will require a brief interruption of service, a dropped call or if it will be seamless.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com


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