Vodafone on Tuesday announced that its 5G network would go live in the UK for both common consumers as well as business customers on July 3, giving the UK its first official 5G launch date. "Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London will be among the first cities in the world to receive 5G and Vodafone will price 5G the same as 4G," Vodafone wrote in a blog post.
"This is important. It means we can today announce the largest launch of 5G in the UK and be the first to announce 5G roaming. It means UK businesses can lead the world in adopting 5G to boost productivity and attract investment," said Nick Jeffery, CEO, Vodafone UK.
A choice of 5G smartphones will be available online and in Vodafone stores and will go on sale next week. Xiaomi Mi MIX 3, Samsung S10, Huawei Mate 20X and Mate X are included in Vodafone's 5G smartphone offerings in the UK.
Vodafone would also offer a 5G router for use at home and offices to give customers without a fixed line connection high-speed broadband access, the post added.
"The new price plans will be unveiled next week to coincide with the availability of the first handset. Handsets can initially be used over 4G, and will be able to use 5G when the network is switched on and all manufacturer software updates are completed," the post noted.
While the UK gears up for its 5G availability, India is not even on the map for the technology's large-scale rollout this year, or even beyond. Although India is targeting 2020 for 5G rollout, the country is yet to allocate 5G spectrum to operators even for trial.
Apart from the UK, 5G-enabled phones have come early mostly for technologically-developed as well as mature markets, including South Korea, the US, Australia and Japan.