Vodafone Portugal makes splash with first 5G demo

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Vodafone Portugal has held its first 5G tests, hitting over the air speeds of 20GBps and demonstrating 1GBps on its 4.5G network.

The operator worked with Ericsson on the trials, which were held at its head office in Lisbon this week.

The 5G trials used beamtracking and MU-MIMO to transmit files to two mobile devices under real propagation conditions.

The operator highlighted 5G's potential to improve customer experience by allowing the real-time viewing of 4K video on a mobile device while on the move and without a drop in quality.

It also said the demonstration showed how 5G could enable reliable, high-speed, critical communications for the likes of robotics or autonomous vehicles.

The operator is already selling handsets capable of 1GBps speeds, including the Samsung Galaxy S8+. It said it is hoping to add more compatible devices to its portfolio within the coming months.

João Nascimento, CTO of Vodafone Portugal, said: “This is another milestone in the history of innovation at Vodafone Portugal which, by readying its mobile network for a progressive transition to fifth generation communications, is contributing to significantly improving users’ telecommunications experience by bringing more advanced technology to its customers."

Last week, Vodafone announced it was trialling artificial intelligence in Germany and Ireland to see how it can improve network performance.

Both trials involve centralised self-organising networks, which identify optimal conditions for voice over LTE services to be delivered to hundreds of cells.

Portuguese rival Altice is also working with Ericsson in trialling 5G technologies.