Vodafone UK has announced the launch of a commercial pilot of 5G Standalone (SA) services in London, Manchester and Cardiff, building on a trial with Coventry University. In a press release regarding the development, the mobile operator said this represented the ‘first live deployment to test 5G SA at scale’ in the country. According to the operator, the commercial pilot will focus on testing new capabilities being introduced as part of 5G SA, while enabling partners to test new SA-enabled devices on a live network. As part of the trial, a dedicated slice has already been configured for Coventry University to provide low-latency services to enable virtual reality distance learning.
Meanwhile, Vodafone UK said the commercial pilot had been made possible by the deployment of a cloud-native dual-mode 5G Core in partnership with Ericsson, which it called a ‘critical milestone for [it] to deliver 5G SA connectivity services across the UK’. As part of the deal, Ericsson will support Vodafone UK’s entire cloud-native 5G Core SA for packet core applications.
Commenting, Vodafone UK’s chief network officer Andrea Dona said: ‘Delivering 5G Standalone for the UK is an important step forward for our customers and our partners. The new features this delivers, such as new levels of reliability, latency and flexibility, are a gamechanger for customers and developers looking to create new applications.’