Vodafone Germany has announced the launch of its 5G Standalone (SA) network in cooperation with technology partners Ericsson and Nokia. Around 1,000 antennas in the 3.5GHz band have been switched on in 170 cities and municipalities, enabling 5G services in that frequency range to transmit completely independently of Vodafone’s LTE technology. Coverage locations include Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich and Dusseldorf, as well as smaller cities such as Magdeburg, Solingen, Bremen and Mainz. By the end of the year, Vodafone plans to increase the number of 5G SA antennas in Germany to around 4,000, as well as launch the technology in other frequency ranges.
The 5G SA service is live for both private and business customers with compatible handsets and devices. Vodafone says the first smartphones that support the technology are already available and can be used with 5G SA this month via an automatic firmware update. Starting next week, Vodafone customers with the right smartphones, such as the OPPO Find X3 Pro, can book a free ‘5G core network option’ for all post-paid 5G tariffs in order to use the new technology. Initially, customers can experience maximum download speeds of 700Mbps, with this set to rise to 1Gbps in the future.