Vodafone claims world’s first 5G smartphone network connection


Vodafone claims to be the world's first operator to connect 5G smartphones to its live 5G network.

The operator completed the trials over four weeks with three 5G smartphones that will be launched in 2019.

Vodafone reports that it was able to make a “seamless” 4K video call on its network during the trial, using 5G download speeds “that will be up to 10 times faster than 4G is today”.

Both the smartphones and Vodafone’s 5G network were compliant with 3GPP’s Release 15, which was approved in December 2018 and is the industry standard for Non-Standalone 5G.

Rolling out in Europe

Vodafone has already rolled out a 5G network in the centre of Barcelona. During MWC, which starts on 25 February, a car will drive around the city streets measuring and reporting the 1.5Gbps speeds that the network is already delivering.

The achievement comes as Vodafone prepares to launch 5G in a number of European cities during the second half of 2019, following trials in Manchester, Milan, Dusseldorf and other cities.

Vodafone has invested in single Radio Access Network (RAN) technology across 98% of its European 4G footprint, which it says will make it to faster and easier to add 5G on top of its network.

5G customer experience

Johan Wibergh, Chief Technology Officer at Vodafone Group (and last year’s winner of the Mobile Europe CTO of the Year Award – find out how to enter here), said, “Vodafone’s networks are increasingly ready for 5G, which will enable us to deliver significant benefits over time for consumers, businesses and society.

“Our focus now is on optimising the customer experience before we launch 5G in some European cities later this year.”