Vodafone UK and Ericsson have partnered with Kings College London to showcase the first standalone pre-standard 5G demonstration in a 3.5GHz spectrum field test. The test took place in central London, and was the first instance of 5G testing working independently from existing 4G Network technologies anywhere in the UK.
Vodafone UK's head of networks, Kye Prigg, said that the tests represented a key step in the implementation of 5G networks across the UK, but that there was still much work to do to make Britain ready for 5G rollout.
“We are delighted to be the first provider to test standalone 5G in the field, however, building a 5G network will take time. Right now, we’re also modernising our network by making smarter use of our existing mobile technology to keep ahead of consumption demands and provide the mobile coverage our customers deserve, said Vodafone UK's head of networks, Kye Prigg.
During the testing, engineers were able to showcase a number of key 5G technologies, including extensive use of Massive MIMO.
Massive MIMO uses multiple antennae to send and receive data more efficiently in crowded areas with high volumes of connections.
The project also successfully aggregated different bands of mobile spectrums across the UK to increase capacity and boost data speeds. By combining four bands of spectrum, the tests were able to achieve data speeds in excess of 500 megabits per second.
Ericsson hailed the tests success in a complex, built up environment, saying that the tests showed that 5G development in the UK was well underway.
“This is a live trial in a densely populated central London urban area and the first time in the UK that we’ve been able to show pre-standard 5G working independently. We remain committed to advancing 5G development in the UK, working closely with leading operators and ecosystem players to enable global scale and drive the industry in one common direction,” said Marielle Lindgren, head of Ericsson in the UK and Ireland.