This week Vodafone became the latest mobile operator to launch 5G in the UK, following EE’s launch in May. Here are 5 things we learned from the launch…
5G isn’t going to be that expensive
It may be that Vodafone is aggressively pricing its 5G packages in order to gain greater market share against frontrunner EE and that prices will go up in the long term. However, so far prices for 5G seem to be quite reasonable with Vodafone promising that ‘5G pricing will be the same as 4G’. According to Scott Petty, Vodafone’s CTO, 5G technology is much more efficient than 4G, meaning that each mast can support 64x more connections. This may explain why 5G isn’t any more expensive – yet.
Unlimited data is a thing
Vodafone announced three different Unlimited packages with prices ranging from £23 a month for a slow 2Mbps connection to £30 a month for a superfast connection which can be used for downloading boxsets in seconds etc. Vodafone also announced Vodafone Together – a £50 a month service that combines unlimited high-speed home and mobile data services in one. It will be interesting to see if the small print caps the actual maximum usage though.
5G Handsets are going to be limited
It’s bad news for those who like the latest devices to go alongside the latest technology. While the elephant in the room that is Huawei wasn’t mentioned at yesterday’s launch, it’s clear that Huawei’s 5G handsets won’t be deployed by Vodafone any time soon. Instead the only two devices that will support Vodafone 5G initially are the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 handsets. As for Apple users, you will almost certainly have to wait until 2020 for a 5G compatible iPhone device.
Vodafone isn’t just about 5G
While much of the hype was understandably around 5G, a look around its Reinvent Conference (so called because Vodafone is trying to reinvent itself from a stuffy, slightly stand-offish premium service to a much cuddlier, more accessible brand) revealed some interesting technology applications. One of our favourites was its Dream Lab app which harnesses the collective power of connected smartphones while you are asleep to provide the bandwidth needed by researchers at Imperial College London to crunch some pretty important data. Thanks in part to DreamLab, for example, researchers at Imperial College have been able to identify hundreds of molecules with anti-cancer properties in everyday foods, as well as more exotic fruits and veg, like pomegranates. You can see more information here: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/191869/smartphone-network-helps-uncover-hundreds-anti-cancer/
Lewis Hamilton seems like quite a nice guy
One of the problems of having a celebrity to switch on your network as Formula One Champ Lewis Hamilton did with Vodafone’s 5G network is that it’s usually quite clear they are doing it for the money. I’m sure with Lewis it was no different but at least he seemed genuinely interested in the technology. He is apparently a keen gamer, making sure he takes his PlayStation wherever he goes, and seemed excited about being able to play games from providers such as Hatch will lower latency. You can see him being interviewed in this YouTube video below.
Lewis Hamilton switches on Vodafone 5G at London’s SkyGarden