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Why Vodafone Isn’t in a Hurry to Deploy 5G

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Many operators are underway with 5G

What’s striking about Vodafone (VOD) is that it isn’t acting like everyone else in the industry in the hot race to deploy 5G (fifth-generation) networks. In the United States, Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) are working to launch 5G services in select markets later in 2018, while T-Mobile (TMUS) and Sprint (S) are eyeing nationwide 5G coverage by around 2020.

Elsewhere around the world, operators from China’s China Mobile (CHL) to Japan’s SoftBank (SFTBY) are underway with 5G programs. But Vodafone is only planning the first steps toward a 5G rollout.

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Vodafone expects consumer uptake of 5G services to be slow

Vodafone intends to begin its 5G network trials in select British cities later this year, although it’s in no hurry to launch 5G networks. According to a Reuters report, Vodafone believes 5G is unlikely to be adopted by even half of wireless users before 2025.

Mobile chip supplier Qualcomm (QCOM) predicts that 5G-ready consumer phones will start arriving in 2019, which means few people would be able to take advantage of 5G services in the near term. Vodafone says it has spent recent years enhancing its network, and it’s capable of meeting its traffic demand.

Vodafone’s wireless subscribers increased to 536 million

Vodafone closed its fiscal 2018 (ended in March) with 535.8 million wireless customers globally. It had 515.7 million wireless customers globally a year ago. Vodafone’s fiscal 2018 revenue fell 2.1% to $54.5 billion.

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