Vodafone has revealed that its 5G network will go live on 3 July in seven cities across the UK.
It means the carrier will be the first to offer 5G in the UK, with customers in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London able to take advantage of record–breaking speeds.
What is 5G, when will it launch in the UK and how fast is it?
Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton will follow later in the year.
Vodafone says it will start selling 5G phones later this month and that contract prices will be the same as those on 4G, a major boost for those concerned that the next–generation tech would prove prohibitively expensive.
The Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 will be the first 5G phone available on Vodafone, exclusively available online an in stores from 23 May. It will be followed by Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G and Huawei Mate 20 X, which the network says will be up for grabs on pre–order later in May.
Excitingly, Vodafone says it will also offer Huawei’s foldable Mate X later in the summer. With a SIM–free price of €2,229 in mainland Europe, however, it promises to be a pricey proposition.
As well as offering 5G phones, Vodafone has also announced it will be selling a 5G Gigacube home router. 5G is widely expected to replace standard home broadband connections, meaning less reliance on wired infrastructure.
Vodafone says it will reveal its price plans for its 5G products next week, with the devices capable of working on its 4G platform until the 5G switch on date.
Perhaps best of all, Vodafone says 5G customers will be able to roam for free in Germany, Italy and Spain.
“We can today announce the largest launch of 5G in the UK and be the first to announce 5G roaming,” said Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery.
“It means that UK businesses can lead the world in adopting 5G to boost productivity and attract investment. It means consumers can get the fastest mobile speeds ever, and it means that our public sector will be able to adopt new services to improve healthcare, social services and housing.”