British mobile network operator (MNO) Vodafone UK has announced that it will switch on its 5G network for both residential and business customers on 3 July, with initial coverage of seven cities. In a press release regarding the development Vodafone named the locations where it will launch 5G as Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London. Looking ahead, meanwhile, coverage is expected to be extended to a further twelve cities ‘later this year’, namely: Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton. Further, in what the operator claims will be a first, it will also offer 5G roaming in the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain ‘over the summer’.
According to Vodafone UK, it will offer a choice of 5G smartphones, with it planning to put its first 5G-compatible handset – the Xiaomi MIX 3 5G – on sale next week; this device will reportedly be useable on its LTE network initially, and then be able to use the 5G network when it is switched on and once ‘all manufacturer software updates are completed’. In addition, the cellco has confirmed it will also offer a 5G router for both home and business use. Meanwhile, with regards to pricing, the MNO says its 5G service will cost the same for both residential and business users, and that new tariffs will be unveiled next week to coincide with the availability of its first 5G-compatible handset.
Commenting, Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery said: ‘We started our 5G journey more than three years ago. We led the way in setting 5G standards to ensure phones and networks work well together. We upgraded our masts to be able to take 5G without disruption. And we were the first UK company to test 5G over our all-fibre core fixed and mobile network … This is important. It means we can today announce the largest launch of 5G in the UK and be the first to announce 5G roaming.’