Vodafone has just taken a huge step – one that we’ve been waiting for a network to take ever since 5G technologies were first unveiled. Namely, the network has switched on 5G Standalone, or as Vodafone is calling it, 5G Ultra.
This is the first network to launch 5G Standalone to consumers, other than as a trial, which Vodafone also did earlier this year, and it’s set to improve 5G coverage and 5G speeds, let your phone’s battery life go further, and provide more reliable connections even in the busiest locations.
So what is 5G Standalone / 5G Ultra? Well, it simply means a fully upgraded 5G network, rather than one that’s using a mix of new 5G and old 4G technology. The latter is what every UK network has been doing until now, and is known as 5G Non-standalone.
5G Ultra is available now, but not yet to all customers or in all locations. Initially, it’s available in parts of London, Manchester, Glasgow, and Cardiff, with more cities to follow. It also currently only works with phones in the Samsung Galaxy S22 and Samsung Galaxy S21 ranges, although Vodafone says that even before the end of July more models will be supported.
Rolling out gradually and at no extra cost
If you have a compatible handset and you signed up for a Vodafone Pay Monthly plan after the 24th of February this year, you’ll find 5G Ultra is added to your plan automatically and at no extra cost. Similarly, all new and upgrading customers will also get access to 5G Ultra. However, Vodafone is adding this to accounts in a phased approach throughout the summer, so not everyone will get it instantly.
Once you do have access to 5G Ultra, you’ll be able to enjoy coverage in more places, with over one million more people able to connect to Vodafone’s 5G network as a result of this. You’ll also get up to 25% more battery life from your 5G device, experience 5G speeds that are around 10 times faster than 4G, and be able to reliably connect to the network even in busy places, such as in stadiums and at festivals.
So this is an enormous upgrade, and once it comes to more places and devices it could be transformative for Vodafone’s 5G network – which also saw another recent upgrade in the form of clever new antennas.