Vodafone: Our 5G starts with these 19 towns and cities

5G networks are coming this year, so those 5G smartphones better hurry up and arrive too.

How 5G will transform business The next generation of mobile technology, or 5G, has the potential to supercharge the evolution of everything from smart cities and autonomous cars to augmented reality and AI. Larry Dignan and Bill Detwiler talk about 5G and its potential.

Vodafone is the latest mobile operator to give more details of its 5G rollout, announcing plans to launch its next-generation mobile service in 19 towns and cities across the UK during 2019.

The company said that nine trial sites are already live or switching on as part of its ongoing 5G trial, which started last year in Salford. Sites in Bristol, Cardiff and Liverpool have been switched on and are streaming live 5G mobile data traffic, while 5G antennas and equipment is now installed at sites in Birmingham, Glasgow and London ahead of going live.

Following these sites, Vodafone will be extending its service to Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Newbury, Warrington and Wolverhampton this year. 

SEE: How 5G Will Transform Business (ZDNet Special Report)

5G technology will provide vastly more bandwidth for smartphone users, who are increasingly using data-rich applications like video on the go. 5G networks will also offer lower latency, which means they respond much faster, making applications like virtual reality and real-time video much more usable. 5G can also support many more devices, which could lead to massive growth in use cases like the Internet of Things (IoT).

All of the big mobile networks have now announced plans to roll out 5G in at least some towns and cities this year. 5G handsets are on the way, but won't arrive in any great numbers until the end of the year.

Late last year, EE said it will be launching 5G in 16 UK cities in 2019, and switching on 5G in the busiest locations across London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester as phase one of its launch. This will be followed by parts of Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol.

O2 is starting its 5G rollout in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London later this year. The mobile operator said it will bring 5G to other areas of the UK "from 2020", which will coincide with the wider availability of 5G handsets. Three has also said it will deliver 5G in 2019. 

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