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Oscar Williams

News editor

Vodafone reveals 19 cities set to get 5G coverage in 2019

Vodafone has unveiled the nineteen towns and cities in which it will launch its ultra-fast 5G mobile network later this year.

The carrier launched a 5G testbed in Salford in October and today (7 March) went live with further trials in Bristol, Cardiff and Liverpool.

It claims the mobile sites, connected to its optical fibre network, will deliver speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second.

“Our multi-billion-pound network investment and leading position in setting global standards will ensure our customers have the very latest 5G releases,” said Vodafone UK chief technology officer Scott Petty.

“5G will also usher in a new era where everyone and everything is better connected, whether you are running a hotel in Portsmouth or broadcasting live at MediaCity in Salford.”

The full list of sites is: Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Guildford, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Salford, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton.

Vodafone, which secured the largest chunk of the 5G spectrum in an Ofcom auction last year, said it had already upgraded “many” existing 4G sites using active antenna technology.

It said: “This technology effectively provides multiple-data ‘channels’ from a single antenna, coupled with our 3.4GHz 5G spectrum.”

While Vodafone is pushing to roll out the next generation network this year, Petty admitted that if new rules force the company to remove Huawei equipment from its 4G network, it will hinder its plans.

“The cost of doing that runs into the hundreds of millions and will dramatically affect our 5G business case,” he told the BBC. “We would have to slow down the deployment of 5G very significantly.”

The chief executive of Ericsson, one of Huawei’s biggest rivals, warned last month that security fears could further slow down Europe’s efforts to roll out 5G, the Financial Times reported.

“It is full steam ahead in the US,” he said. “There is no hesitation. It is full steam ahead in Australia and in Asia. We sit here in Europe and the majority of countries have not even sold spectrum yet. You are not creating a positive investment environment in Europe and that is the problem,”