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Vodafone is first to announce 5G switch-on date

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Vodafone has confirmed its 5G service will be switched on in seven UK cities on 3 July.

It is the first telecoms firm to announce an official switch-on date.

Vodafone 5G will be available in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London, with 12 other cities following by the end of the year.

Both business and consumer customers will be able to sign up for the service.

Nick Jeffery, CEO of Vodafone UK, 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.”

Vodafone has said it will price 5G the same as 4G. However, customers will need to replace their handsets.

The first 5G handsets will go on sale next week. These will initially be used over 4G and then moved onto 5G when the network is switched on.

‘Worsen the UK’s digital divide’

Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at comparison site uSwitch, said:“Vodafone’s 5G go live date of July 3 will undoubtedly cause excitement within the telecoms industry as it appears to have won the race to launch the new technology in the UK.

“Faster speeds and better connectivity are always real draws for smartphone users and there is little doubt that 5G is a significant step forward for the telecoms industry.

“The reassuring factor, for now at least, is that 5G will cost the same as existing 4G tariffs. It would be surprising, however, if this were to continue to last, given the high expense of rolling out this new infrastructure – providers will be keen to cover their costs.”

However, he said the launch could worsen country’s digital divide.

“The launch areas already enjoy superior connectivity to much of the rest of the country, and concerns abound that 5G will not address issues like ‘not spots’, or at least not in the near future.”

The 12 cities due to receive Vodfaone 5G by the end of the year are: Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton.

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