Irish Vodafone 5G network goes live in five cities with more to come

13 Aug 2019

A Vodafone store. Image: michaelpuche/Depositphotos

Vodafone Ireland has launched the country’s first commercial 5G network in Dublin and four other locations.

5G is now here for anyone located in one of Ireland’s major population centres, albeit with the right contract and compatible phone. This comes after Vodafone Ireland announced this morning (13 August) that is has launched the first commercial 5G service in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford.

At its launch event, the company said that it will continue the roll-out to more Irish locations over the coming months. The telecoms firm opened its first test network site at Dublin’s docklands in November of last year, but the service is now being made available to both the general public and business customers.

It added that the new network consists of fully standardised Ericsson 5G, which is being deployed over Vodafone Ireland’s recently acquired spectrum.

‘5G is set to revolutionise how we use and adopt technology and will have a huge impact on businesses and society in Ireland’

Those on the company’s Red Complete and Red Business plans will be able to tap into the high-speed internet network. Compatible handsets offered by the company include the Huawei Mate 20X (5G) and Samsung Galaxy S10, or it can be accessed through a 5G-ready phone purchased SIM-free.

Vodafone Ireland has said that in order to access the network, those on its 5G-ready plans need to opt-in at one of its stores, over the phone or online through webchat.

Speaking of the news, Vodafone Ireland CEO Anne O’Leary described the launch as “a truly historic occasion”.

“5G is set to revolutionise how we use and adopt technology and will have a huge impact on businesses and society in Ireland. It will bring high-speed, ultra-low latency and highly secure connectivity to a massive amount of devices, and is a technology that will unlock a vast array of new use cases through Vodafone’s next-generation network,” she said.

‘A global 5G incubator for the medtech sector’

The launch event was held at the ASSERT Centre (Application of the Science of Simulation to Education, Research and Medical Technology) in University College Cork (UCC). This marked the start of a new partnership between ASSERT and Vodafone Ireland – with 5G connectivity it will become one of the first connected telemedicine and medical robotics training centres in the world.

Using 5G connectivity, the ASSERT centre will allow surgeons to train with the latest medical robots remotely from anywhere in the world on a high-speed connection with minimal latency. The Cork facility now aims to become a Vodafone 5G global internet-of-things centre for healthcare and end-to-end solution development.

Prof Barry O’Reilly, director of ASSERT at UCC, said: “The ASSERT/Vodafone strategic partnership will create a global 5G incubator for the medtech sector to test new technologies, assess 5G functionality and roll-out to clinical trials, providing that bridge between clinicians, research, innovation and the medtech industry.”

Vodafone’s competitor Eir announced earlier this year that it plans to begin its 5G roll-out in the near future, with Three also confirming a roll-out towards the end of 2019.

A Vodafone store. Image: michaelpuche/Depositphotos

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic