Vodafone U.K. switched-on what it claimed was the first live standalone (SA) 5G deployment in the country, with a new network built for Coventry University, the operator said in a release.
Vodafone noted it would be used to show the “true benefits of 5G” covering low latency, higher speed and new IoT use cases. The new deployment comes a year after the carrier launched commercial 5G based on non-standalone (NSA) technology.
NSA 5G uses a 5G Radio Access Network but a 4G core network, while SA 5G technology uses both 5G core and radio networks.
Vodafone U.K.’s Chief Technology Officer Scott Petty said: “This is a landmark in our 5G journey – just one year on from launch. 5G today is all about capacity and increased speeds. It’s giving people the best mobile experience ever, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg of what 5G can do. With this new live network we’re demonstrating the future potential of 5G and how it will be so valuable to the UK economy.
“This new phase of 5G starts 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 will use the new 5G network to trial virtual reality learning technologies to support training for student nurses and allied health professionals.
Professor John Latham CBE, Coventry University Vice-Chancellor, said: “Being the first university in the UK to have this next phase of 5G technology is the first step on our journey to creating a 5G campus, and we will soon be able to reveal how we will use this technology to maximize the potential of virtual reality teaching for our Health and Life Sciences students.”
As part of this project, 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 5G in key buildings to support its innovative teaching and learning.
Vodafone’s partners for the deployment of SA 5G in the UK include Ericsson, MediaTek, OPPO and Qualcomm.
In the U.K.., Vodafone’s 5G services are available in 44 locations including London, Birmingham, Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool.
Vodafone has also built 5G in 70 locations across Ireland, Italy, Germany and Spain.