Vodafone UK, Ericsson and King's College London Test Pre-Standard 5G

Vodafone UK and Ericsson, in collaboration with King’s College London have tested standalone pre-standard 5G using a prototype device in central London. This is the first 3.5 GHz spectrum field trial in the UK. Until now, no-one in the UK has shown pre-standard 5G working independently of existing 4G network technologies.

Vodafone will continue to test 5G technology and evaluate opportunities to provide better services to consumers and businesses prior to its commercial deployment from 2020. The live trials will help to establish the innovative uses of 5G services that will benefit both industry and society in the future, in areas such as factory automation, smart energy grids and remote surgery.

Engineers showcased a number of technologies at King’s College London, including Massive MIMO. The technology, which is already being deployed by Vodafone in its network, is the key building block for 5G. Massive MIMO uses multiple antennae to send and receive data more efficiently to boost capacity where lots of people connect to the network at the same time.

The project is also combining or aggregating different bands of mobile spectrums across the UK to increase capacity and boost data speeds. By combining four bands of spectrum, for example, Vodafone enables the latest smartphones to achieve data speeds in excess of 500 megabits per second (Mbps). These fast and ultra-reliable technologies are becoming essential for data-hungry video applications and as the Internet of Things (IoT) expands into people’s homes, vehicles and the workplace.

Vodafone UK is also modernizing its network by making smarter use of its existing mobile technology to keep ahead of consumption demands and provide the mobile coverage.Together with CityFibre, it will soon start work on installing the advanced fiber networks providing high-capacity backhaul connections required for 5G mobile services.