Vodafone Ireland makes first holographic call over 5G

Max Gasparroni and Anne O'Leary of Vodafone Ireland test 5G in Dublin (Image Vodafone)

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21 November 2018 | 0

Vodafone Ireland achieved a first by making a holographic call to its innovation centre in Germany over 5G technology.

Anne O’Leary, Vodafone Ireland CEO, spoke to Irish interim CTO Max Gasparroni over the holographic link, demonstrating the low latency of the service.

5G “is where the majority of our investment is going,” said O’Leary, adding the company is committed to be first to market with the technology and provide the best 5G network, as it does with voice and data, according to independent testing.

Gasparroni said the call was “highly significant, and a major landmark on our journey of 5G.” The demonstration builds on previous proof of concepts in Ireland.

The company said the network consists of fully standardised Ericsson 5G equipment, being deployed over Vodafone Ireland’s recently acquired 5G spectrum (3.6Ghz). Vodafone Ireland said it will use the site to trial the latest 5G hardware, software and services, as they become available in advance of 5G products hitting the market, and will continue to expand coverage in the area over the coming months.

Hans Hammer, programme director for Ericsson, said that commercial routers for 5G are expected to be available from Q2 next year, with smart phones expected in Q4 2019.

Gasparroni said 5G is a major step change, compared to 4G.

“This is enabled by four main factors,” he said. “The first is very high data rates, very high speeds. The second is massive Internet of Things. The third is very low latency, and the last is high reliability of the infrastructure. And what these four properties enable us to do is to unlock use cases and applications that were either highly restricted by 4G or not possible at all.”

Potential uses of the technologies, he said, are holographic calls, mobile virtual reality (VR), 4K video streaming, and the potential to accommodate IoT on a massive scale.

Vodafone also announced a partnership with NovaUCD the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin, to create a new 5G accelerator programme. Through the nationwide programme, participants will have the opportunity to develop and enhance their business plans and validate the commercial potential and technical feasibility of innovative 5G enabled products and services.

Candidates who successfully complete the 5G accelerator programme will be eligible for early stage investment to bring their plans to fruition, launching a number of new 5G enabled products and services in Ireland.

Tom Flanagan, director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, University College Dublin, said the accelerator programme will work with 12 companies, running workshops to help the companies understand customer needs, while making technical and commercial expertise available to them. 5G technologies, said Flanagan will provide “an opportunity to be disruptive”.

“We’re determined to roll-out 5G to businesses and consumers in Ireland with our partner Vodafone,” said John Griffin, managing director, Ericsson Ireland. “The first international holographic call is an important milestone in achieving our goal. Holographic calls are just the start. The benefits of 5G will impact the whole economy, especially the thriving Irish technology sector.  Ericsson is committed to R&D and a collaborative approach to 5G roll-out in Ireland. The accelerator programme with NovaUCD will be a springboard for entrepreneurship in the new 5G ecosystem.”



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