Vodafone launches 5G Ultra, the UK’s first 5G Standalone mobile network for consumers

Customers in London, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff, amongst others, to experience the most technologically advanced 5G network in the UK.

  • Vodafone 5G Ultra to offer greater 5G coverage and improved phone battery life, more reliable connections in busy locations, as well as amazingly fast 5G speeds, on the new 5G network.
  • 5G Ultra to be available on Samsung Galaxy S21 and S22 devices, with more to follow in July as more devices become 5G Ultra-compatible.
  • The Wimbledon Championships will be one of the first major events at which customers can benefit from the new 5G Standalone connectivity.

Vodafone is the first company in the UK to offer customers a 5G Standalone network, the most advanced network available today.

5G Standalone is the fully upgraded 5G network. Whereas the existing 5G service offered by telecoms companies relies partly on 4G technology (which is why it is known as 5G Non-standalone), Vodafone’s 5G Standalone has every element fully upgraded and future-proofed.

Known as 5G Ultra, the service will add 5G Standalone connectivity to the existing 5G network customers already enjoy, giving an even more reliable experience. Vodafone’s network switches seamlessly between 4G, 5G or 5G Ultra to give customers the most reliable connectivity experience available.

Customers with a compatible handset who signed up to a Pay Monthly contract after 24 February will have 5G Ultra added to their plan automatically at no extra cost, as will all new and upgrading customers from now on. A small number of people are already receiving 5G Ultra. Eligible customers will be added in a phased approach over summer 2023.

Customers with an eligible 5G Ultra device can expect:

  • Greater 5G coverage – over 1 million more customers in the UK can connect to Vodafone’s award winning reliable 5G network.
  • Up to 25% longer battery life – helps prevent the challenge of running out of battery, with up to three hours of improved battery performance.
  • Fast 5G speeds – experience amazingly fast 5G speeds, around 10 times faster than 4G.
  • Connect in busy places – make a call or use your data even when it’s busy – on station platforms, in stadiums and at festivals.

At launch, Vodafone 5G Ultra is available in several locations across the UK, including London, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff, with more cities to come.

Customers will also be able to benefit from the new 5G Ultra service at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. Masts in the Wimbledon area have been upgraded to deliver the new service, including ones which provide coverage to the courts and the surrounding outdoor fan zones.

The 5G Ultra service will also be available for Small Office and Home Office (SOHO) business customers.

Max Taylor, Vodafone’s UK Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Today our reliable, award-winning network gets even better with the launch of Vodafone 5G Ultra. Our customers in London, Manchester, Glasgow, and Cardiff will be the first to experience the fast speeds, longer lasting battery life and even more reliable connectivity 5G Ultra brings.”

By launching 5G Ultra today, Vodafone is driving innovation for consumers and businesses to create Europe’s leading 5G network. The recently proposed merger with Three UK would mean the merged company would have the scale to deliver 5G Standalone to more than 99% of the UK’s populated areas by 2034, delivered via an £11 billion investment in the network over the next decade.

A platform for innovation

5G Standalone has the potential to improve society and business across the UK, becoming a catalyst for new digital experiences that would not otherwise be possible. Not only is the network more efficient, but it also offers greater Quality of Service control and higher levels of reliability to transform business critical operations and services.

Nick Gliddon, Vodafone’s UK Business Director, said: “We’re excited about what the future holds for our customers. 5G Standalone is a truly transformational technology that can have an impact on industry and businesses, especially when blended with IoT and Cloud.”

This could have a significant impact for businesses and consumers. For example:

  • 5G’s contribution to driving take-up of smart health devices and associated data capabilities could deliver £1.25 billion of savings a year to the NHS by 2025. 5G Standalone offers new capabilities, such as low latency to deliver use cases such as remote-assisted surgery and drone delivery of medication and medical assets more efficiently than traditional courier.
  • Adoption of 5G-enabled technology in manufacturing, transport and agriculture could reduce the UK’s overall emissions by 4% a year.
  • Through adoption of 5G, the manufacturing industry could increase Gross Value Added (GVA) across the UK by £3.6 billion a year in 2025 and £6.3 billion a year in 2030. This could be achieved through the adoption of 5G Standalone Mobile Private Networks (MPN) to offer high Quality of Service, greater flexibility and enhanced security

Vodafone has also been working with partners to explore network slicing, a new capability that is introduced with 5G Standalone.

During the Coronation of Charles III, Vodafone partnered with ITN to deliver the first public broadcast using 5G Standalone. Using network slicing, Vodafone was able to dedicate a small part of the network to ensure ITN could transfer live content to production studios at top speed without being impacted by the Coronation crowds using their smartphones to share pictures and videos of the historic occasion.

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