Following a 5G Standalone (SA) trial with Coventry University in 2020, where Vodafone installed Ericsson’s 5G Radio Dot System in the university’s Disruptive Media Learning Lab and National Transport Design Centre, the company has announced the launch of a commercial pilot of 5G Standalone services in London, Manchester and Cardiff,
The original trail at Coventry University was designed to showcase a ‘Standalone’ 5G network, and support training for student nurses and allied health professionals. And the trial provided lecturers at Coventry University with the tools and infrastructure to deliver VR-powered seminars, providing students with remote access to interactive VR learning for the first time.
New 5G Standalone pilot
This new 5G SA pilot from Vodafone 5G is the UK’s first live deployment to test 5G SA at scale, and it will enable partners to test new SA-devices on a live network, and work with 5G technologies such as network slicing and time-sensitive networking (TSN).
“Delivering 5G Standalone for the UK is an important step forward for our customers and our partners,” said Andrea Dona, chief network officer at Vodafone UK. “The new features this delivers, such as new levels of reliability, latency and flexibility, are a gamechanger for customers and developers looking to create new applications. This leadership position greatly complements our investments in Multi-access edge compute (MEC) capabilities, the Internet of Things (IoT), Mobile Private Networks (MPN) and OpenRAN. When we bring all these technologies together, we open up entirely new possibilities for customers, and move beyond being a core connectivity provider to being a true digital champion.”
To date, 5G networks in the UK have been delivered using Non-standalone infrastructure, which overlays 5G equipment on underlying 4G equipment. With 5G SA, every element of the RAN is designed for 5G, which enables operators to experiment with new 5G use cases, and take full advantage of technologies such as mobile edge computing (MEC), IoT, network slicing, and more.