U.K. telecommunications group Vodafone has announced the launch of 5G technology in eight additional cities across the country, the telco said in a statement.
The service is now live in Birkenhead, Bolton, Gatwick, Lancaster, Newbury, Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent and Wolverhampton.
These new cities join Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London, which all went live with 5G at the beginning of July.
“Vodafone’s global presence means we can provide our consumer and business customers with 5G in more destinations than any other U.K. provider,” said Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery said. “Combined with our new unlimited data plans, we are offering customers the best roaming experience ever.”
Vodafone is the second operator to launch 5G in the UK. EE switched on 5G in the U.K. in May. Three is slated to launch in August; O2 expects 5G in the autumn.
Last year, U.K. telcos obtained spectrum for the future provision of 5G services. Vodafone won 50 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.4GHz band after paying £378 million ($498 million). BT-owned EE won 40 megahertz for which it paid £303 million. Three secured 20 megahertz of 3.4 GHz spectrum at a cost of £151.3 million, while Telefónica-owned O2 picked up 40 megahertz for £318m.
Vodafone also confirmed it has launched 5G services in 20 German towns and cities. Vodafone Germany’s 5G service is already live in Cologne, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Dortmund, and Munich, among other cities. Next month, the service is expected to be activated in other cities including Berlin, Bremen, Dresden, Darmstadt, Leipzig, and Frankfurt.
Vodafone’s 5G network will cover 25 cities, 25 municipalities and 10 industrial parks across Germany by the end of 2019. It will reach 10 million users by the end of 2020, and 20 million by the end of 2021, the company said.
Vodafone Germany will offer new 5G plans for smartphone users starting at 14.99 euros ($16.80) per month for the first year. Its unlimited 5G data plan costs 80 euros.
“We are democratising 5G,” Vodafone’s Germany chief Hannes Ametsreiter said in a statement. “With us, 5G isn’t just a technology only for high earners.”
Vodafone Germany will continue to pursue a dual vendor strategy for its networks, gear from Chinese vendor Huawei and Sweden’s Ericsson, a spokesman said.
Vodafone Germany had acquired radio spectrum for 5G mobile networks at Germany’s Federal Network Agency auction last month for a total cost of €1.88 billion. It has secured 90 megahertz in the 3.6 GHz band and 40 megahertz of 2100 MHz spectrum.
Rival operator Deutsche Telekom (DT) had kicked off the rollout of its 5G network in six cities across the country at the beginning of July.
The initial rollouts are taking place in Berlin and Bonn, which will be followed by Darmstadt, Hamburg, Leipzig, and Munich.
DT said that a total of 300 5G base stations in more than 100 locations across the country will be deployed and brought online by the end of the year.
In the upcoming 18 months, the 20 largest cities in Germany will be connected with 5G, according to DT.
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