Industry Updates

'SAMENA Daily' - News

Vodafone UK announces 5G SA trial for selected customers

Vodafone said that 5G SA trial will be initially for customers in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Bath, Glasgow and Birmingham

U.K. carrier Vodafone claimed to be the first mobile operator in the U.K. to switch on its 5G Standalone (5G SA) network.

The telco said that selected customers in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Bath, Glasgow and Birmingham – and who have Oppo Find X3/X5 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S21/S22 handsets on Unlimited Max plans – will be contacted by the operator to take part in the 5G SA trial.

Vodafone said it will also trial network steering, a technology that allows the network to direct a device automatically towards the right connectivity (4G, 5G NonStandalone or 5G Standalone), depending on what services are being used.

“5G Standalone’s low latency will enable even more immersive and interactive experiences, such as augmented and virtual reality, as well as use cases that rely on near-live data processing or reactions, such as self-driving vehicles or remote medical consultations and surgery,” the telco said.

“One of the key benefits of 5G Standalone is a capability called ‘network slicing’. Vodafone can use it to create distinct, discrete parts of the network, customized for different customers depending on their connectivity requirements. For example, one slice could be reserved for the emergency services, prioritizing reliability over everything else. In March 2022, Vodafone and Ericsson completed lab trials for network slicing,” the carrier added.

Vodafone also noted that the deployment of 5G Standalone to communities across the U.K., not just in big cities, will require the support from the government.

“[Telecom regulator] Ofcom and the Government have helped to create a pro-investment environment for full fiber broadband networks, leading to the speed at which they are being made available today. The same efforts should be replicated for mobile networks as they can act as a catalyst for economic growth across the UK – as much as £150 billion ($185 billion) worth of economic potential can be unlocked using 5G Standalone,” Vodafone said in a company statement.

Vodafone initially launched 5G services in the U.K. in July of 2019. The telco’s initial offering covered parts of Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Glasgow.

Last year, Vodafone Group confirmed that it was in discussions with Hong Kong-based CK Hutchison Holdings in relation to a possible combination of Vodafone UK and Three UK.

Vodafone said that the potential transaction would involve both companies combining their U.K. businesses, with Vodafone owning 51% and CK Hutchison owning 49% of the combined entity.

Vodafone also said that a deal to create a new telecoms group would be key, given the huge costs of rolling out and maintaining new 5G network infrastructure in the country.

The transaction would be subject to an in-depth investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority.