Vodafone to Showcase UK’s First Standalone 5G Network

One year after launching 5G services in the UK, Vodafone is going to showcase the next phase of 5G technology with a new network built for Coventry University. This network uses Standalone 5G technology and will make Vodafone the first UK operator to implement this technology. It will be used to show the true benefits of 5G, including ultra-low latency, guaranteed speed performance, and the Internet of Things on a never-before-seen scale.

5G today is about capacity, increased speeds and giving people the best mobile experience ever. This is, however, only the tip of the iceberg of what 5G can do. This new phase of 5G will start to deliver on the incredible capabilities of 5G that have had so much attention, but haven’t yet been brought to life. From here, we will really start to see 5G make a difference to the way organizations think about being connected, and what’s possible with connectivity in the future.

Coventry University, recognized for its innovation and excellence in digital teaching, will use the new 5G network to trial state-of-the-art virtual reality learning technologies to support training for student nurses and allied health professionals, as part of its ambition to be the leading university for 5G-enabled technology.

Being the first university in the UK to have this next phase of 5G technology is the first step on their journey to creating a 5G campus, and will soon be able to reveal how they will use this technology to maximize the potential of virtual reality teaching for our Health and Life Sciences students.

Professor John Latham CBE, Coventry University Vice-Chancellor, stated that they are delighted to be working with Vodafone to house the UK’s first standalone 5G network. This will help them continue to change and enhance the way students learn.

To support the university’s 5G ambitions further, Vodafone has also installed Ericsson’s 5G Radio Dot System in the university’s Disruptive Media Learning Lab and National Transport Design Centre. The indoor technology will deliver fast, high-capacity 5G in key buildings to support its innovative teaching and learning.

To deliver the UK’s first Standalone 5G network and a roadmap of future breakthrough demonstrations, Vodafone has teamed up with Ericsson, MediaTek, OPPO and Qualcomm – four technology leaders at the cutting edge of 5G development.

When a customer connects to 5G today, they are using a mix of 4G and 5G together. This is the first phase of 5G, and its main benefit is adding more capacity to the network, which means faster speeds and a more reliable connection.

This next phase of 5G is totally independent from 4G, that’s why it’s called ‘Standalone’. It opens up far more possibilities to revolutionize how consumers and businesses will connect. Important technology features of the new network include:

  • Network slicing – enabling mobile operators to offer customers dedicated portions of their network with guaranteed performance. This is important for the introduction of 5G into industries like manufacturing;
  • Edge computing – bringing computing power closer to the customer, leading to much quicker network response times, which are vital for virtual and augmented reality technologies in the workplace;
  • Ultra-reliable, low latency communications – which will be a key part of bringing about efficiency benefits like full factory automation, and will enable mission-critical services that could enhance the performance of autonomous vehicles.

One year ago, on 3 July 2019, Vodafone switched on 5G in seven UK cities. Since the launch, Vodafone has added 5G to 37 more places in the UK and massively expanded coverage in launch cities. Vodafone has also built 5G in 70 locations across Ireland, Italy, Germany and Spain, and is the only UK operator to offer 5G access when customers are roaming abroad.