Vodafone’s 5G service is launching today, 3 July. We’re going to the launch this morning and we’ll be bringing you all the latest information on the fledgeling network both now and over the coming months.
Here’s everything you need to know about Vodafone’s 5G network.
What is 5G?
5G follows on from 4G and is an additional layer on top of it. We’ll eventually see 3G switched off, but 2G (for voice and some low-level devices such as smart meters) and 4G will continue to be live.
5G offers low latency (lag) for applications such as online gaming, while it’ll also bring vastly improved speeds – you’ll be able to download things in a fraction of the time.
Where will Vodafone 5G be available?
“We plan to have 1,000 5G sites live by 2020,” Vodafone has told Pocket-lint. The 5G network is launching in seven cities first including Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London. It has also now added the Isles of Scilly to the launch list as a testbed for communicating using 5G with the mainland.
Subsequently, Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton will go live later in the year.
Vodafone is working with O2 to build a joint 5G network to bring 5G faster to non-urban areas. The pair already do some network-sharing and also run a joint venture that manages network sites.
What Vodafone 5G phones are there?
There are two 5G devices currently available from Vodafone. Despite the original intention to offer Huawei’s Mate 20 X 5G – Vodafone isn’t using it at launch due to the current situation with Huawei. However, Huawei itself says it will be available in the UK imminently, though we don’t know if the networks will choose to return to it, of course.
In terms of home broadband on 5G, Vodafone will use HTC’s 5G Mobile Smart Hub and Huawei’s 5G CPE Pro router, although we don’t have more details on this at present.
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is a specific version of the S10 series for 5G. It comes with a massive 6.7-inch display, large massive 4500mAh battery and a quad camera system.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G
The Mi Mix 3 5G uses Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 processor alongside the Snapdragon X50 modem and is priced well – in fact, it’s one of the best value 5G handsets out there. It boasts a 6.39-inch 2340 x 1080 FHD+ Samsung AMOLED display, 12-megapixel AI-enhanced dual camera plus a 24 megapixel selfie camera, too.
How fast is Vodafone 5G?
Speeds are difficult to talk about at this stage because there are a lot of variables – devices have different capabilities, while different locations also yield different speeds of course. Users are likely to get speeds in excess of most current home broadband – upwards of 100Mbps – while some peak speeds may hit the 1Gbps mark.
Certainly, we saw a speed test hit 900Mbps when we recently visited Vodafone’s Newbury HQ where 5G is deployed. However, that was in perfect conditions – we were stood on top of a car park in sight of the mast.
Vodafone’s early testing has been talking about download speeds around four times that of 4G. In a Vodafone 5G test in Manchester, a 656MB episode of Tin Star downloaded in 45 seconds, while the whole series took around six minutes. On 4G, the series took 26 minutes.
How much will Vodafone 5G cost and what are the best deals?
Crucially, Vodafone has announced that “5G [will be] priced the same as 4G” while it’ll also be the first network to offer 5G roaming in selected countries. Currently, you can get the black Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G from £54 a month (£49 upfront). That’ll give you a hefty 60GB of data and unlimited calls and texts. You also get global roaming, too.
As you might expect, the Samsung S10 5G is more expensive. Again it’s from £49 upfront but costs £16 more a month – a not inconsiderable £70. Again that’s for 60GB of data and unlimited everything else.
You can find out all about the deals on offer on Vodafone’s website.
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