Vodafone has launched Ireland’s first commercial 5G service, covering Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, and Waterford. Vodafone says it will expand the network to other locations over the coming months with a full roll-out forecast by the end of 2020.
While Vodafone said it expects 5G to eventually be available even in hard-to-reach rural locations, it reiterated that it should not be seen as a substitute for the National Broadband Plan (NBP), which has still to get off the ground after a sequence of controversies and delays.
The initial roll-out of 5G makes the technology available to about 300,000 people across the State. Those wishing to upgrade will need a new smartphone with Vodafone offering either the Huawei Mate 20X 5G or the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G handsets to customers. Customers who already own a 5G-enabled phone can access the new network simply by contacting the operator and asking to switch to it.
Monthly price plans will cost €25 per month for a SIM-only plan under an introductory offer, and from €40 with a new handset.
“This is truly a historic occasion for everyone at Vodafone,” declared Anne O’Leary, Vodafone Ireland CEO.
“As a business, we have spent the last 18 months preparing the groundwork for the launch of Ireland’s first commercial 5G network and today we begin our switch-on.
“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.”