The operator has switched on their standalone (SA) 5G network in London, Manchester, and Cardiff

Today, Vodafone has announced that it has launched the UK’s first commercial SA 5G pilots, setting the networks live in London, Manchester, and Cardiff. 

As part of the deal, Ericsson will support Vodafone’s entire cloud-native 5G Core Standalone for packet core applications. 

According to Vodafone, the pilots will focus on testing the various new technologies that SA 5G unlocks, such as network slicing, as well as allowing partners to trial various SA-enabled devices. 

“Delivering 5G Standalone for the UK is an important step forward for our customers and our partners. The new features this delivers, such as new levels of reliability, latency and flexibility, are a gamechanger for customers and developers looking to create new applications,” said Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer at Vodafone UK.

In the press release, Dona also drew attention to Vodafone’s investments in Multi-access edge compute (MEC) capabilities, the Internet of Things (IoT), Mobile Private Networks (MPN) and OpenRAN, suggesting that all these network elements are complementary and will benefit from SA 5G.

“When we bring all these technologies together, we open up entirely new possibilities for customers, and move beyond being a core connectivity provider to being a true digital champion,” she said. 

Vodafone UK first showcased SA 5G technology with a new network built for Coventry University last summer. Now, as part of this pilot launch, a dedicated network slice has been configured for use by Coventry University in delivering virtual reality distance learning.

Vodafone is also notably trialling a SA 5G core pre-commercial network in Spain, with the technology again provided by Ericsson. 

In related news, Vodafone recently announced that its entire European operations will use 100% renewable energy from the beginning of next month. 


What impact will standalone 5G have on the UK telecoms sector? Find out from the experts at this year’s live Connected Britain event

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