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Vodafone has begun inviting customers to join the trial of its 5G standalone (5G SA) network. This is the first time in the UK that customers will be able to partake in a “full” 5G experience.

“This is a very important step forward on the way to creating a digital platform for innovation across every sector of the UK,” said Vodafone UK Chief Network Officer Andrea Dona.

The 5G SA trial is a limited, controlled experience that will test and demonstrate the full potential of 5G to selected customers across the country who are using either a Samsung Galaxy S21/S22 or an OPPO Find X3/X5 Pro smartphone.

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Eligible customers who opt into the trial will benefit from the 5G SA network’s promise of better reliability, improved battery life and improved coverage.

According to Dona, 5G SA should be viewed as a vehicle for innovation and greater prosperity across the UK. Citing examples, this technology could support an intelligent transport system; a futuristic, digitalized healthcare system; and artificial intelligence that augments human skills.

“This trial is a stepping stone towards this digitally connected ecosystem, which will enable businesses and public sector organizations to thrive, innovate and improve the lives of people across the UK,” added Dona.

Moreover, this recent trial is in line with Vodafone’s Digital Ambition 2030 report last year, in which CEO Ahmed Essam commented: “With significant investment across all parts of the country, we can still create an investment-friendly environment that enables all of us to benefit from the next generation of mobile technology… In the years ahead, the UK could also make 5G work for all of our citizens and businesses.”

Vodafone will also trial “network steering,” a technology that allows the network to direct a device automatically towards the right connectivity (4G or 5G) depending on what services are being used.

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