Vodafone holds demo of 3.4GHz spectrum, claims UK 5G first

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Vodafone UK is claiming the first use of 3.4GHz in the country, only a week after the operator spent almost £400 million buying 5G spectrum.

The operator used Massive MIMO technology to send data from its contact centre in Manchester to its head offices in Newbury, almost 200 miles away.

Vodafone UK Chief Executive Nick Jeffery said: “5G will improve the quality of our lives and transform how we work. This next generation technology will enable medical services that could save lives, from remote surgery to remote care for the elderly.

"It will enhance industrial applications, from automated systems to robotics, helping manufacturers across the UK boost their productivity. And it will enable families to share their experiences with loved ones wherever they are, thanks to innovations like augmented reality."

“Today’s test is just the beginning. We are now preparing our network for 5G while continuing to increase the capacity and extend the reach of our existing 4G network.”

The operator was seen as one of the winners of the UK's recent spectrum auction. It spent £378 million on 50MHz of the 3.4GHz band, one of the key frequencies of future 5G networks.

The purchase was seen by analysts as a strengthening of its spectrum portfolio and a potential bolstering of its market strengths.

Vodafone has been trialling 5G in markets across its footprint, most recently in Spain with a 5G demo. It also recently claimed the first voice call made over 5G in partnership with Huawei.

However, the operator's Group CTO Johan Wibergh warned delegates at this year's Mobile World Congress that vendors were guilty of overhyping th promise of 5G.