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Vodafone to kickstart 5G service by 'sharing' 4G waves

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Vodafone is aiming for a third of the population to be covered by its 5G service by March 2021.

The operator says that the comparatively slow rollout might be speeded up through technology that "shares" spectrum between existing 4G and 5G.

The Ericsson 'dynamic spectrum sharing' (DSS) technology, it says, will allow Vodafone "to deliver both 4G and 5G on the same spectrum band using existing antenna infrastructure, allowing for a smooth transition between the two technologies and a quicker, cost-effective rollout providing greater access to 5G services".

Vodafone and Eir both began 5G mobile rollouts in Irish cities last Autumn. Three has yet to announce a 5G launch.

Apple's iPhone 12 is expected to have 5G on board. The technology allows much faster mobile broadband speeds.

By the end of this month, Vodafone says that it will have rolled this technology out to 57 sites across 11 counties - Cork, Cavan, Galway, Dublin, Roscommon, Kerry, Limerick, Meath, Mayo, Offaly and Wicklow.

DSS technology, it claims, will allow speeds of up to 400Mbps, as well as a wider 5G coverage footprint and "deeper in-building 5G service coverage".

"The last few months have highlighted the important role mobile technology plays in our society and DSS will help us to bring 5G to more people in a faster and more efficient manner," said Vodafone Ireland technology director, Didier Clavero.

The move comes after it was revealed that the National Broadband Plan may triple its entry-level speed to rural citizens from 150Mbs to 500Mbs.

The new higher speeds are understood to be related to a price cut from rival operator Eir, which now has over 300,000 premises 'passed' by fibre broadband and is aggressively trying to capture a fibre customer base.

The government is also said to be preparing more resources for a 'front-loading' of the rollout, with a desire to bring the seven-year period down to five.

Irish Independent