Vodafone has become the first UK phone network to reveal when it will be switching on its speedy 5G networks. It will launch on 3 July 2019, in seven UK cities. Those cities are: Glasgow, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff and Bristol.
And anyone fearing a huge hike in charges to move to a 5G tariff will be relieved as Vodafone has said that 5G will be priced the same as 4G. The price plans will be unveiled next week.
- EE 5G UK network launches on May 30
- Best 5G phones: every 5G phone announced and still to come this year
- 5G UK: the phones, networks, and deals you need for 5G in the UK
Vodafone's 5G coverage will then arrive in Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton later this year.
The firm has also said that 5G roaming in Italy, Germany and Spain will follow in the summer.
The 5G phones that Vodafone will be offering to buy online and in its stores are:
- Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G: initially available exclusively from Vodafone online and in store from 23 May 2019
- Samsung Galaxy S10 5G: available for pre-order later this month
- Huawei Mate X: available for pre-order later this month
- Huawei Mate 20X: to launch this summer
Vodafone will also be introducing its 5G GigaCube – a wireless router which turns your 5G signal into Wi-Fi so you can connect wireless devices in your home and office to your 5G network.
In terms of speed, 5G offers massive speed improvements over 4G. You'll be able to download 4K movies in a couple of minutes, but it's not just downloads that will be improved. The stronger signal means you're less likely to lose signal in crowded locations while the increased bandwidth will allow more devices to be able to connect at a time, paving the way for more smart devices and self-driving cars. The jump from 4G to 5G is going to be game-changing and way beyond the much smaller jump from 3G to 4G a few years ago.
Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery said: "We can today announce the largest launch of 5G in the UK and be the first to announce 5G roaming. 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."
Update: On 22 May 2019, EE announced that its 5G network will go live ahead of the Vodafone switch-on date. EE's 5G network launches on May 30 – also for the same price as its 4G tariffs. It will first launch in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester. Then Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol will follow.
We're expecting to hear more from O2 and Three about their 5G plans soon.
Lead image credit: Vodafone