back to article The good news: Vodafone switches on first full-fat, real-life 5G network in the UK. The bad news: it only got sent to Coventry

Vodafone has switched on its first 5G SA (standalone) network in the UK. The inaugural deployment is located at Coventry University, and - all being well - is expected to deliver increased capacity as well as the low-latency connections required for time-sensitive IoT applications. Coventry University said it will use the …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Educate me please?

    I'm making an assumption that 5g backhaul is via fairly bog-standard fibres, and not a signal going hoppity hoppity between 5g masts until it gets somewhere useful. Is it a safe assumption?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Educate me please?

      Laying fibre is expensive, the backhaul is by utilising existing infrastructure with these perfectly good 56k modems we got cheap

    2. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: Educate me please?

      Yup, just like 4g. Although IIRC the Ericsson dot products hang off of Ethernet cables (but they are indoor products, at least)

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    News flash!

    Coventry shops out of tin foil stocks!

    Seriously though, all the mast burners are going to need a new theory when it turns out Coventry hasn't got a population infected with C19 and their brains haven't been fried.

    1. Gerard Krupa

      Re: News flash!

      I think you might be overestimating their logical reasoning

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: News flash!

        >I think you might be overestimating their logical reasoning

        I think you might be overestimating their ability to make fire

    2. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: News flash!

      In 1987 or '88 I first visited Coventry and a week later Cologne. Both with historic cathedrals that were bombed out in WWII. On the front of both cathedrals were footballs trapped high in their gothic spires.

      It was a surreal coincidence as if the madness of war had been replaced by the Anglo-German football rivalry. Or maybe both balls were where English penalties ended up.

      5G is perfectly fine, but I heard that 6G will make you impotent and ugly.

      1. Teiwaz

        Re: News flash!

        5G is perfectly fine, but I heard that 6G will make you impotent and ugly.

        I heard that 6G will interconnect all of humanity and usher in a world of peace and harmony....

        ....of course, we'll all be wading hip deep in broken Smart devices and failed IOT rubbish by then.

        1. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge

          Re: News flash!

          If I am not mistaken, the garbage hills in Wall-E are devices left over when 666G came along

      2. Insert sadsack pun here

        Re: News flash!

        "5G is perfectly fine, but I heard that 6G will make you impotent and ugly."

        That's good news. I'm already impotent and ugly so 6G had no downside for me.

    3. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: News flash!

      I do wonder what else they could be convinced by. There's a charming set of maps that correlates covid with all sorts, e.g dog ownership levels. Can't find it to link to it, though ☹️.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: News flash!

        Bored enough to find it today - it was on a FB feed:


    4. NeilPost Silver badge

      Re: News flash!

      Surprised they did not do it at nearby Warwick Uni as that has it’s own self contained campus and adjacent technology and manufacturing park... as opposed to being a hotch-potch of buildings scattered in Cov City Centre.

  3. Cuddles Silver badge

    Which applications exactly?

    "low-latency connections required for time-sensitive IoT applications"

    Pretty much all the IoT applications I've seen being hyped are pointless consumer tat of the "smart" home variety. Are things like central heating thermostats and internet-connected toasters really so time sensitive that a few milliseconds of network lag are relevant?

    1. batfink Silver badge

      Re: Which applications exactly?

      I've just been reading a Vodafone hype document which suggest that 5G "could" bring £150bn extra to UK output.

      Being interested, I read the entire doc to find out where this £150bn figure comes from. As I should have expected, there was no supporting business case information. Instead, there was a great deal of vague hand-waving about exciting stuff that "could" happen.

      Some of the suggested applications were interesting, such as how it might be used for remote farming (however they did have the grace to admit that this would take rather a lot of coverage...).

      Some of them were things like autonomous driving, to which my reaction was "yeah, right...".

      Some of them were just bullshit ideas, such as crowing that it would enable infotainment systems on buses, which ignores the fact that everyone already has an infotainment system in their pockets.

      However, most of these, such as c&c in manufacturing, were IMO all just stuff we can do today with 4G/Wifi/fibre. Or the claim that 5G will enable continued home working, as if the existing networks aren't coping quite happily at the moment.

      So, almost complete hype then. Usual bollocks. However I did wonder whether this was the start of a campaign to have the govt subsidise the 5G rollout, as it's going to be damn expensive for the telcos.

      Link to the Information Age article, which has a link to the actual report:

      1. BenDwire

        "So, almost complete hype then. Usual bollocks."

        It's so nice to be surrounded by like-minded souls. Have one on me!

      2. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

        Re: Which applications exactly?

        What you missed, is that Vodafone could probably sell £150bn of "services".

        They may well have sold a similar value of 4G services. But clearly this is a sexier number that clearly highlights the superiority of 5G. Whatever it is.

      3. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Which applications exactly?

        I've spent quite a bit of time working with isosynchronous networking, its used in (among other things) industrial automation to coordinate multiaxis servo movements. At this time I'm at a loss to think of a domestic or commercial application for this capability. Its also the sort of thing that doesn't work at all well parked on a conventional TCP/IP stack -- this traffic has its own Ethertypes and either enscaputlates generic network traffic or mediates it depending on the speicifc protocol being used.

        I don't like to say that "such and such is impossible / pointless" but at this time it looks like a technology looking for an application.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Which applications exactly?

          It's not about phones. That's what many people are missing.

          It's 1000x faster than 4G - why limit the vision to the applications we use today?

          640K RAM isn't enough for anyone.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Which applications exactly?

      I think the self-driving car is being touted as one of the killer applications for 5G. Probably in more ways than one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Which applications exactly?

        Real time transmission of blackbox type data.

        Sensor data between vehicles.

        To name but two.

  4. hoola Silver badge

    The Future

    Maybe this is linked to the announcement that Coventry is the next City of Culture. Perhaps all the 5G goodness will enable the cultured residents of Coventry to download more cultured stuff.

    Coventry -> culture, is that an association that only I am struggling with?

    In the current situation there is bugger all live culture happening with no realistic timeline as to when anything will start. I supposed the only thing that will have benefited at the moment is the porn industry. I would hazard a guess that quite a lot of the seedier end will not have been to worried about the long-term health of their "performers" as long as the money kept rolling in.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blah, blah, blah...

    Just give me _one_ network that can offer me reliable 4G where I (and about 500 others) live - ideally that I can use in the house, as it's not fun sitting outside in the winter to make a call.

    1. Captain Hogwash

      Re: Blah, blah, blah...

      Have wi-fi? Get yourself a SIP account. Make calls inside in the winter.

      1. EssexGuy

        Re: Blah, blah, blah...

        ...or a modern smartphone/provider which supports WiFi calling.

        1. Captain Hogwash

          Re: Blah, blah, blah...

          Nah, SIP account keeps my four year old phone, with user replaceable battery, out of landfill.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Blah, blah, blah...

      To be fair, I'm pretty sure that's all 5G really is - additional 4G micro-base stations, lower power transmissions, designed to serve the same area and utilise the bandwidth in a more efficient manner. 5G is to telcos what mesh wifi is to home users.

  6. David Lewis 2

    What could possibly go wrong.

    I suppose that means to prepare for a sudden spike in Covid-19 cases in Coventry.

    1. Annihilator Silver badge

      Re: What could possibly go wrong.

      For some reason I often confuse Leicester and Coventry, presumably as they're reasonably close to each other. I guarantee conspiracy theorists will gradually do the same to support their crackpot ideas.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I wish…

    Lucky to get 4G where I live (Keighley, West Yorkshire) Usually it is H+ whatever that is. Looking at you O2

    Cheers… Ishy

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 5G?

      H+ is 3.5G and in reality will get you the same speeds that 4G does in most places, just won’t get close to the rare instances 4G can hit its theoretical throughput.

  8. Miss Config
    Thumb Up

    5G In Cork

    Vodafone is my ISP and according to the icon in the tray the internet connection through which I am now interacting with the Reg is : 'vodafone-B799-5G'.

    Early in the 2010s they laid a new internet cable across the Atlantic Ocean. Said cable was only 20 miles south of Cork Harbour and to tap into it cost all of €20m, which was obviously a bargain.

    ( Apple could have paid for it out of small change. )

    I presume that is why 5G is so common hereabouts.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    5G phone

    A friend of mine asked me about 5G. I told him that you need both a 5G network locally, and a 5G capable phone.

    He asked me how he could tell if his phone was 5G capable. It suggested that if the volume control went up to 11 it was 5G. He seemed happy.

    Maybe a job in VF marketing is beckoning.

  10. mark l 2 Silver badge

    It seems a waste of resources for one of the place to install it be Coventry university. Universities usually have good internet links already compared to other places, plus since COVID 19 means there are no student in the uni and its about to be the summer break so there won't be any until the autumn assuming even then. So Its going to sit there virtually unused for month.

    1. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge

      It may be because with Brexit someone thought that access to GÉANT may be lost?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a waste

    They just do it for publicity and want to be seen to be relevant. IoT wont make my morning cuppa or wipe my bottom every morning.

    Genuine Question: Who killed the idea of internet thru electricity cables? The whole country is already connected ! This idea was wildly proposed and hyped more than 15 years ago. Very feasible I think. Non of the fibre digging nonsense excuses and subsidies. This would be 10G gigbit by now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a waste

      Mainly interference. Most of these cables are in the sky, turning the then highly modulated cables into aerials.

  12. EssexGuy

    5G is a solution desperately looking for a problem.

    WiFi 6 with fibre backhaul will provide the high bandwidth, low latency connectivity to satisfy every possible indoor use case that the 5G marketing department can dream up. Not to mention that WiFi 6 comes at a fraction of the cost and complexity of deploying 5G RAN and core.

    Suggesting that 5G is a good solution for indoor IOT is laughable. How many companies are going to add £100+ to the cost of their device for a 5G modem when only a fraction of customers want it vs 100% of customers wanting WiFi support?

    5G was actually meant to drive down the cost of delivering data to smartphones in an industry where profit margins are becoming thinner by the day. Unfortunately the cost of deploying the high density 5G infrastructure will mean those savings won't be realised for a decade. And of course then 6G will descend from the mountain....

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      WiFi 5 over 5G will also beat 5G for most indoor use cases, unless people catch on that their routers are transmitting 5G and set fire to them.

      Hurray for marketing.

      1. hoola Silver badge

        It is possible that the telecoms companies are aiming for a future where everything has a SIM and you no longer have a WiFi router at home. Whilst you can still do a 5G wireless router, this always on and no interaction with anything mantra rather favours mobile data.

        Whether anyone can afford it will be another thing plus the issues of building penetration.

  13. Fy

    Sounds disgusting

    Full fat...

    Dead animal...


  14. stevebp

    Don't get me started...

    I work in the Data Centre industry and I lost count of the number of times I went to a conference panel where some marketing fool/CEO/COO stood up and pronounced "5G will usher in the dawn of self-driving cars because the need for micro-second response times is critical to avoid catastrophe".

    At one point, my colleagues had to physically restrain me from yelling out that they had absolutely no idea what they're talking about.

    This really irritates me because, even from a layman perspective, this end user case makes absolutely no sense: Given that most people struggle to get a consistent and ubiquitous 4G connection even after all this time, why on earth would anyone build the decision-making logic for driving safely on the road into the assumption that the car can maintain a 5G connection everywhere it goes? A connection, by the way, that will rely on the receiver being fairly close by - so an automated car driving into the mountains will suddenly lose connection and drive you straight off the edge of the road...will it?

    The 5G uploads, *may* be required to send all the telemetry data back to the factory, but even then, if that is it's operating paradigm, it's poorly designed - why not use the home WiFi as you plug your car back in to recharge and why would you send *all* the data back anyway, when you only need the processed (i.e. small sub-set) data unless you're investigating a fault. In which case, you can request the entire historical data set.

    So much to get annoyed about...

  15. Pete4000uk

    Oh my goodness!

    Birds will fall from the sky, dogs tails will fall off, virus ridden zombies will run riot!

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