Vodafone goes live with 5G trial in Salford
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:

Vodafone claims to have become the first company in the UK to carry full 5G over a commercial network.

The company announced today (25 October) that live mobile data traffic is now being streamed to and from the Internet exclusively over 5G from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester, connected to Vodafone’s nationwide converged fibre network. Vodafone claims that until now, companies have tested the technology either within a single location, or using parts of the 4G network to complete the 5G service. The data from the 5G base station is being transmitted back over the company's commercial core and transmission network, which has been upgraded to handle 5G traffic, so the trial involves the end-to-end use of 5G.

The new site in Salford is enabling Vodafone to test the technology end-to-end using 5G fixed wireless access routers, which could potentially be used by local businesses to provide very high backhaul for their Wi-Fi networks. According to a Vodafone spokesperson each router currently costs around £10,000 but the price is expected to drop rapidly as the technology matures. The site forms part of the company’s 5G trial in seven cities this year.

Vodafone is now inviting local companies and organisations to register their interest in experiencing 5G at its new ‘Future Ready’ innovation centre and digital incubator when it opens in Spring 2019. In partnership with the Mayor of Greater Manchester and MediaCityUK, the innovation centre will be equipped with 5G wireless routers, gigabit-capable optical-fibre links and Internet of Things (IoT) services.

Vodafone UK’s chief executive Nick Jeffery, said: “We are leading the roll out of 5G across the UK, starting with Greater Manchester. A further six cities – Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool and London – will shortly receive full 5G too. Next year, we will bring 5G to the Scottish Highlands, Cornwall and the Lake District, among other locations.

“We have worked closely with the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to help ensure the city is not only an economic powerhouse, but also a digital powerhouse. That is why we are making a multi-million pound investment to offer world-class communications to Greater Manchester’s thriving media and tech community, consumers and our own 1,000 or so employees who work there.

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