Vodafone has opened pre-orders for 5G-ready handsets online and in stores nationwide. The carrier rolls-out its 5G UK network to seven UK cities on July 3, 2019.
Those cities are: Glasgow, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff and Bristol. Vodafone will follow with 12 more towns and cities by the end of the year.
Those looking to take advantage of the faster speeds, lower latency and greater reliability that Vodafone claims its 5G network will offer need to get their hands on a 5G-enabled smartphone. The most affordable option you'll find in Vodafone stores is the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G, which starts from £50 a month for 5GB of data. There's also a £99 upfront cost. At £1,299 over the course of the two-year contract, being first to benefit from 5G speeds isn't cheap.
According to Vodafone, its slate of 5G ready handsets have been priced similarly to high-end 4G smartphones. That said, the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G costs £520 SIM-free, so you'll be paying double for the benefit of 5G mobile data... not to mention the assortment of other perks and goodies thrown in with a plan from Vodafone.
For example, all 5G devices will come with 24 months warranty. Vodafone’s Red Entertainment plans offer a choice of either Spotify Premium, Sky Sports Mobile TV, Amazon Prime Video or a Now TV Entertainment Pass. You'll be able to stream and download content faster than before on 5G network, meaning you should be able top blitz through the likes of Game Of Thrones and Stranger Things much faster.
Those who don't fancy the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G can order the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G from Vodafone next month. It boasts a total of six cameras, including a 3D Depth Sensor for improved Augmented Reality (AR) and bokeh-style blur in video recording for the first time. There's also a 6.7-inch Infinity-O display, and fast charging.
Vodafone will offer the Galaxy S10 5G on June 7, 2019 with a promotional pre-order pricing from £58 a month for 5GB of mobile data. There's also a £149 upfront cost.
That deal will last two weeks, then the price will increase by £4 a month – or and extra £96 over the lifetime of the 24-month contract. If you want the maximum 100GB of 5G data, you'll have to cough-up £77 a month, with a £49 upfront cost, too.
The UK network had planned to bring two more 5G-ready smartphones to its network ahead of the launch: Huawei Mate X and Huawei Mate 20X. However, the company has decided to drop these devices from its 5G launch following the news that Google will suspend all business with Huawei in order to comply with the US government's blacklisting of the company. As such, Huawei will lose access to updates to Google's version of the Android operating system, including Android Q.
In a statement posted on its forum, Vodafone stated: "We are pausing pre-orders for the Huawei Mate 20X (5G) in the UK. This is a temporary measure while uncertainty exists regarding new Huawei 5G devices. We will keep this situation under review."
Vodafone has confirmed plans to offer 5G roaming for no extra cost – a world-first for 5G networks. If you opt for one of the newly-announced 5G plans, you'll be able to stream and download over 5G speeds in Italy, Spain and Germany, starting this summer. This perk isn't available at launch on July 3, 2019 because Vodafone has yet to roll out its 5G networks in these EU countries.
Finally, Vodafone confirmed details of an exclusive partnership with Hatch – the world’s first cloud-based mobile gaming platform built for the 5G network.
According to the company, streaming games on the Vodafone network will allow players almost instant access – with no downloads, updates or adverts. Hatch currently offers access to more than 100 premium mobile games.
The ability to access the Hatch library of titles isn't limited to those plumping for the latest 5G plans. Vodafone customers on a 4G plan can still enjoy the features and range of games from Hatch. Just expect to wait-out some tiresome loading times.