British mobile network operator (MNO) Vodafone UK has named seven of the country’s largest cities as locations that will become its ‘5G trial areas’. Confirming that it expects to begin the trials between October and December this year, the MNO said its engineers were already laying the groundwork at more than 40 sites across Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester. Meanwhile, discussions with several enterprise customers are also said to be underway, with a view to testing new 5G applications such as augmented and virtual reality in offices, factories and hospitals.
In a press release, Vodafone UK said it was able to commit to conducting what it claimed would be its ‘most comprehensive 5G trial announced to date’ after securing a 50MHz block of spectrum in the 3.4GHz band in April this year and conducting an initial 5G test soon after. With regards to these latest planned tests, the operator has claimed that the upcoming trials will ensure that is ready for the commercial launch of full 5G, which it expect to arrive ‘early in 2020’.
Commenting on the matter, Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery was cited as saying: ‘We want to make 5G and new fibre broadband services available to consumers and business throughout the UK, delivering a Gigabit society for all. We will also be bringing ultra-fast 4G to several hundred sites in hard to reach rural areas this year, building on our position as the network that offers the best voice coverage in the UK.’