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Vodafone draws first blood in misleading 5G PR battle

Vodafone has announced it has completed the first test of its newly acquired 5G spectrum, with the new airwaves being used for a video call between Manchester and Newbury.

Only a week after the completion of the 5G auction which saw Vodafone run away with 50 MHz of 3.4 GHz spectrum at a cost of £378.254 million, the telco has tested out the airwaves for the first time. The video call took place between its Manchester contact centre and the company’s UK headquarters in Newbury.

Before anyone gets too excited, this is an excellent example of blurring the lines of truth and hearsay using nuanced PR language. While Vodafone might try to make this sound like 5G, it is simply using a spectrum band which could at some point in the future be used for 5G. The test relied on Massive MIMO combined with 3.4 GHz spectrum running over the core 4G network.

In short, Vodafone did something which it already could before, but there was an opportunity to work 5G into the headline.

“5G will improve the quality of our lives and transform how we work,” said Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery. “This next generation technology will enable medical services that could save lives, from remote surgery to remote care for the elderly. It will enhance industrial applications, from automated systems to robotics, helping manufacturers across the UK boost their productivity. And it will enable families to share their experiences with loved ones wherever they are, thanks to innovations like augmented reality.

“Today’s test is just the beginning. We are now preparing our network for 5G while continuing to increase the capacity and extend the reach of our existing 4G network.”

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