Vodafone has become the first German telecommunications company to launch a commercial 5G network, activating 25 antenna locations in Dusseldorf, Cologne, Dortmund and other German cities and communities on Tuesday.
Vodafone’s 5G high-speed mobile network is still very limited; nationwide, the company has about 25,000 mobile base stations. By August, there are expected to be 50 of the 5G stations.
Private customers can start using 5G over the antennas starting on Wednesday by adding it to their existing Vodafone contracts, the company said. This costs €5 ($5.6) extra under normal contracts.
Users would also need new, 5G-compatible smartphones, however. Vodafone is offering phones made by Huawei and Samsung.
Vodafone’s competitors have not made it as far yet. Deutsche Telekom says that it will activate its 5G network “in the coming weeks,” while Telefonica is still keeping silent on the issue.
For private customers, the fifth generation in mobile technology is not so important yet as most mobile apps function well with what had been the fastest standard to date: 4G, which is also known as LTE.
But 5G could be needed in the future for virtual reality or data-intensive online games.