Vodafone has become the first mobile operator to connect 5G smartphones to its network as it gears up for a European rollout later this year.
The company said it has completed successful trials over a four-week period in Madrid and Barcelona ahead of the eagerly-anticipated Mobile World Congress.
Read more: Qualcomm launches new chip for 5G phones
Vodafone said the trials, which used three 5G-enabled smartphones that will launch this year, included a successful ultra-high-definition 4K video call on the network.
The new high-speed mobile network is not expected to launch worldwide until next year, but Vodafone said it is preparing to roll out the technology in some European cities later this year. In the UK, the operator is trialling 5G in seven cities.
Johan Wibergh, chief technology officer at Vodafone, said: “Vodafone’s networks are increasingly ready for 5G, which will enable us to deliver significant benefits over time for consumers, businesses and society.
“Our focus now is on optimising the customer experience before we launch 5G in some European cities later this year.”
The successful trials come as operators and tech firms race to develop the technology needed to support the new network.
Yesterday US tech giant Qualcomm unveiled its second generation of so-called modem chips that allow smartphones to connect to 5G.
Rival operators EE and O2 have also carried network trials, but are yet to connect smartphones to 5G.