Vodafone has just switched on a 5G trial network in its hometown of Newbury, ahead of a commercial 5G launch later this year.
The trial, which involves using a Massive MIMO technology dubbed Active Antenna, is already seeing 5G mobile data streamed across Vodafone’s network.
This 5G site is positioned near Vodafone’s campus in Newbury, and it’s not the only upgrade the company is making in the area, as it’s also spending millions of pounds to turn its Newbury campus into its main technology centre, where much of its research and development will be carried out in what Vodafone calls “the network control centre of the future.”
With that in mind, Newbury is an unsurprising location for the trial. As Scott Petty, Vodafone UK’s Chief Technology Officer, explained: “Newbury is the home of Vodafone and where many of our UK firsts have taken place, including the first ever mobile voice call in 1985, first text message in 1992 and the first 5G holographic call last year. It’s only right it should be one of the first places in the UK to receive 5G. With our new technology centre, we will ensure that Newbury continues to be the birthplace of our future technologies.”
Newbury is also unsurprisingly therefore set to be one of the first locations to get a commercial 5G network from the company, as Vodafone has already confirmed that it plans to bring 5G to Birkenhead, Birmingham, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Guildford, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton at some point this year.
Of those, Newbury isn’t the first to get a 5G trial network. Such trials have already been launched in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester, so we wouldn’t be surprised if some or all of those locations get commercial 5G from the company before Newbury.
But either way the wait in Newbury shouldn’t be too much longer, and as it’s smaller than many of these places it should be easier to provide comprehensive coverage to.