Goodbye to WiFi, Vodafone’s 5G is faster than fiber optics: this is how the 26 GHz band works

Vodafone has started the first 5G pilot program in the new 26 GHz millimeter band, which will allow higher speeds.

The promise of 5G has not been fulfilled in Spain, where connections are, without a doubt, faster than those that can be obtained with 4G, but do not reach the level that was imagined at the time. There are many technical reasons why we are not yet enjoying the best 5G possible, but fortunately, operators and manufacturers continue to work to improve it.

An example is the 5G Stand Alone that Movistar advanced , but it is not the only one that is looking for ‘real 5G’. Today, one of its great rivals, Vodafone, has confirmed the start of the first 5G pilot program in the 26 GHz millimeter band, which opens the door to better use of this technology in smartphones.

At the end of 2022, the Government awarded the 26 GHz auction to four operators, with an amount of 36 million euros: Movistar, Vodafone and Orange at the state level , as part of the Strategy to Promote 5G Technology. Now, the results are beginning to be seen.

Faster 5G

The pilot program initiated by Vodafone Spain was developed with the intention of testing the new capabilities of 5G in the 26 GHz millimeter band, and the results are encouraging. The company obtained download speeds greater than 2 Gbps , so, once and for all, the great promise that was made about 5G in its day would be fulfilled (although theoretically there is still even more to advance).

Such speed would allow us to use the mobile phone to connect to the Internet, with an experience very similar to that of the Internet at home, or even faster for most customers. The upload speed does not reach such figures, but it is also higher than what is obtained with a conventional fiber connection and what is usual in the industry, reaching 430 Mbps upload .

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The tests were carried out at the Vodafone headquarters in Madrid, and the interesting thing is that ‘pre-commercial’ mobile phones were used , that is, with components that have not yet reached the market but whose launch is expected soon; all thanks to Vodafone’s collaboration with different chipset manufacturers. Therefore, the speeds achieved in the pilot program should translate to a similar experience in commercial products, when available.

Although the first tests were carried out in very good conditions (with line of sight to the antenna to the point where the smartphones were), Vodafone plans to test the performance in more difficult situations, in mass events such as football matches , with a large number of simultaneous connections. That is precisely where the improved capabilities could be most noticeable, in addition to other services such as private mobile networks, real-time video broadcasts, online gaming, or drone control.