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5G – all you need to know

Vodafone is a world leader in 5G technology, operating Europe’s largest 5G network and continually expanding our 5G connectivity and improving our 5G services.

But what exactly is 5G? How will 5G affect you? How is 5G changing the world around us? 

Here’s all you need to know.

What is 5G?

5G is the latest and fastest mobile network generation. For smartphone and smart devices users, 5G enables improved performance – no lag, no patch connectivity and superfast, stable downloads on the move. 

5G will also support the growth and development of Internet of Things (IoT) technology – millions of devices seamlessly connected and sharing data through a single super-fast network. 

5G will power the digital future, helping us build inclusive and sustainable digital societies around the world.

What will 5G do?

There are three primary advantages to 5G. 

  • 5G is very fast. 5G is up to 10 times faster than 4G, designed to operate at average speeds of 150-200Mbps.  Peak speeds can reach over 1Gbps

  • 5G has low latency—there is virtually no lag time when using a device connected to a 5G network

  • 5G has huge capacity—5G can handle lots of people and devices accessing the network simultaneously, even in crowded areas like cities or big events

These advantages will enable us to do a variety of things through 5G, such as: 

  • Stream and download content faster and without interruptions or buffering delays

  • Power future tech like Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR)

  • Connect the IoT and enable connected cars and driverless cars to operate safely  

  • Enable the development of smart cities 

  • Enable the future of healthcare—imagine remote surgery being carried out across huge distances in almost real-time 

  • Support emergency rescue operations and connect healthcare drones 

Where can I get 5G? 

Accessing 5G as a consumer or business requires a 5G device, with a 5G plan, in an area that is covered by a Vodafone 5G network. 

Vodafone provides 5G services commercially in 12 countries and will continue to expand that offering. At the same time, our 4G networks are being upgraded with technology that is bringing our customers some of the benefits of 5G sooner.

5G coverage and reliability

Vodafone is taking the largest international 4G network and putting it on 5G. Network slicing on 5G will enable it to be reliably deployed to specific critical applications such as cars, emergency vehicles, factories and hospitals.

5G device support

5G is expected to support up to 1 million connected devices per 1 square kilometre, compared to around 2,000 connected devices per 1 square kilometre with 4G.1 This will be vital for the Internet of Things era, where lots of additional devices like cars and commercial drones will eventually be connected to mobile networks.

How fast is 5G? 

5G can reach speeds of up to 10 times faster than 4G. 5G works best at average speeds of 150-200Mbps, and peak speeds can reach above 1Gbps. 

By comparison, 4G works at average speeds of 23-35Mbps.

For example, a full HD film could be downloaded in less than 3 minutes on a 5G network, as opposed to around 15 on a 4G network. 

5G speeds can vary and depend on multiple factors. 

5G has significantly lower latency of <20 milliseconds (ms) for some consumer applications (e.g. gaming or augmented reality) and <5ms for ultra-low latency applications (e.g. in smart factories).

Is 5G safe?

5G is safe to use. 5G frequencies are covered by existing international and national exposure guidelines and regulations for radio-frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF).

Vodafone takes the safety of our customers, the public and the environment very seriously.  We comply with national regulations in all markets, and will continue to do so across the range of new 5G devices and new radio masts.

Is 5G cost efficient to deliver?

5G is more than ten times more cost efficient than 4G in radio cost of delivery.

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