Vodafone has added 12 new locations to the 5G rollcall, with the connectivity euphoria set to grow across 2019.
Reading between the lines, it seems the launch will happen during mid-summer months, as CTO Scott Petty highlighted there are numerous factors to consider including the availability of handsets, 5G equipment and spectrum assets. That said, Vodafone is now boasting the highest number of 5G locations across the UK, with the additional 12 beating the benchmark of 16 set by EE.
“Our multi-billion-pound network investment and leading position in setting global standards will ensure our customers have the very latest 5G releases and technology,” said Petty. “5G will also usher in a new era where everyone and everything is better connected, whether you are running a hotel in Portsmouth or broadcasting live at MediaCity in Salford.”
Among the originally announced seven locations, Salford is already live, while test sites in Bristol, Cardiff and Liverpool have now been switched on. the equipment has now been installed in Birmingham, Glasgow and London also. Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton are the new locations to be added to the list, while the Newbury HQ will also be going live over 2019.
Of course, for every step forward made, there will always be those ready to complain.
“As 5G starts to be rolled out, it is important that the drive for full nationwide coverage availability is maintained,” said Ernest Doku of uSwitch.com. “5G does not address the current challenges which consumers face who are struggling with service – it largely means bringing faster speeds to those that can enjoy 4G today.
“Providers should be mindful of the potential to increase the country’s digital divide, if there is only a focus on places where mobile internet coverage is already strong.”
Some might question what people are going to do with the lightening fast mobile speeds, seeing as there are few mass market applications to justify the upgrade, though Vodafone has pointed to a newly-opened Incubation Hub in Manchester. Here, the team is working with roughly 40 companies to develop new usecases to validate the experience.
With EE and Vodafone fighting for first place, O2 set to launch its own 5G connectivity over the course of 2019 and Three to follow at some point before the close of play, the 5G race is heating up. Two big questions remain now;
- How are the telcos going to sell 5G to the consumer?
- And, how much is it actually going to cost?