Vodafone has announced that its 5G network will be coming live on July 3rd making it the first UK carrier to receive a date for the launch of the next-gen mobile network. The upcoming network will be available in seven cities at first, and Vodafone plans to release four handsets and one home router in the coming months. The company says that the 5G network system will be priced as its 4G equivalents, and will announce the new price plans next week.
Vodafone is the first of the UK’s four operators to announce a specific date for its 5G network, but the actual 5G might not be the first to actually arrive. EE has said that it plans to launch its 5G network later this summer, and specifies a date, but that could change soon. Meanwhile, Three will launch their 5G network in the second half of this year, while O2 will have it available before the end of the year.
At its release date, Vodafone will have the network available in seven cities – Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London. By the end of the year, the operator plans to add 12 more cities – Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent Warrington and Wolverhampton – making them a total of 19 cities. Outside the UK border, Vodafone will be offering the 5G network across Germany, Italy and Spain.
Five new phones will be available after the network is out. First, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G, will go on sale next week, while the Huawei Mate 20 X (5G) and Samsung S10 5G will be available for pre-order later this month. Vodafone also supports that the Huawei 5G foldable handset will be available this summer, and that a 5G home router called the 5G Gigacube will also be available. The prices of these handsets will be announced next week and they will initially be available to use on 4G networks before the July 3rd switch on date.
A July launch for Vodafone’s network means the UK’s first next-gen mobile network could arrive months after the US. Verizon’s 5G network was switched on in the beginning of April in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis, but at the time we found that coverage was very limited when we tried it for ourselves. There was also only one 5G device available at the time. Verizon also chose to charge $10 extra for 5G over 4G, while Vodafone customers will get access to the new network at no extra charge. So while the UK has had to wait longer than the US for its first 5G network, at launch it will be available in more cities, with more devices, and at no extra cost over 4G.
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