Vodafone claims first live 5G network connection to a smartphone

Ahead of MWC 2019 Vodafone has been conducting live trials of commercial smartphone networks in Barcelona and Madrid.

It reckons it’s the first in the world to do this and is timing this claim to perfection as that will give it something significant to bang on about at the show. The four week trials have been conducted with 5G phones that will be launched at some stage this year, maybe even next week. Vodafone also said it will be launching 5G in a bunch of European cities later this year.

“Vodafone’s networks are increasingly ready for 5G, which will enable us to deliver significant benefits over time for consumers, businesses and society,” reiterated Johan Wibergh, Chief Technology Officer of Vodafone Group. “Our focus now is on optimising the customer experience before we launch 5G in some European cities later this year.”

As if to illustrate how difficult it’s going to be for operators to persuade all but the most rabid early-adopters to pay a premium for 5G, Vodafone chose to illustrate how great this first live 5G connection was by noting it was able to make “a seamless 4K video call” over it. At last, the dark days of unreliable 4K video calls are behind us – take our money, please!

The connection used NSA 5G, which was standardised in 3GPP Release 15. Vodafone is claiming download speeds of 1.5 Gbps and will back up that claim by driving a car around Barcelona and continually shouting “one point five gig” out of it or something, so that should be a bit of fun.

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