Vodafone to launch 5G in cities and towns this year

Vodafone has announced that 19 cities and towns in the UK will gain access to its 5G network during 2019.

It already has live 5G sites in Salford in Greater Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff and Liverpool, as part of its UK-wide trial.

They will be joined soon by sites in Birmingham, Glasgow and London. Then, launching later this year, it will switch on the hyperfast network in Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton.

All of Vodafone's 5G mobile sites are connected to the company's optical fibre network to ensure the best internet speeds possible, with the system capable of speeds of up to 10Gbps. That is unlikely to be the actual speed you'll receive on a 5G phone or modem, but it should provide better performance during the busiest times than 4G.

Vodafone claims that end user device speeds could initially be around 10 times faster than 4G. Speeds of 1Gbps and above are possible, therefore. It should mean you could easily watch a 4K HDR video streamed over mobile as long as you have a data plan big enough.

"5G will 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," said Vodafone UK's chief technology officer, Scott Petty.

In addition to its 5G sites,  Vodafone UK also announced that it has joined a consortium looking into drone tracking over 4G and 5G connections. This could eventually enable the safe use of drones in the same airspace as manned craft.

Services such as Amazon's proposed PrimeAir drone deliveries would benefit greatly.

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