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5g hologram call

Vodafone demonstrates holographic calling over 5G network

Image credit: pa

Vodafone has trialled a holographic call using 5G technology in a live call between England and Manchester City Women FC captain Steph Houghton and young fan Iris.

Houghton’s hologram gave footballing tips to the 11-year-old fan and demonstrated how the technology could be used to enable remote coaching and training, as well as the opportunity to bring sports fans closer to their idols.

Coupled with Microsoft’s HoloLens headset, a young fan was able to communicate with the footballer in front of a live audience in Newbury, despite being physically 190 miles apart.

The stunt, which Vodafone claims is a UK first, was carried out to show how 5G’s low latency could be used in a variety of ways in the future, as it allows high volumes of data to be sent with little delay compared to existing mobile network technologies.

The call follows the announcement in June that Vodafone will launch 5G trials in seven cities next month, namely Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester.

Today, the operator also added Cornwall and the Lake District to the list of places that will receive 5G during 2019 and intends to ready 1,000 5G sites by 2020.

As well as improving connection speeds for smartphones, 5G is also being heralded as a potential way to carry out remote robotic surgery, for enjoying 4K gaming on the move and a whole host of other possible uses

Vodafone has a history of firsts in UK telecoms - we made the nation’s first mobile phone call, sent the first text and now we’ve conducted the UK’s first holographic call using 5G,” said Vodafone UK chief executive Nick Jeffery.

No official date has been set for 5G to be made publicly available, but smartphones that can take advantage of the new networks could start to appear on the market next year, after Qualcomm announced a 5G compatible chip for phones in July. 

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport recently announced that the West Midlands had won a bid to be the UK’s first large-scale testbed for 5G, providing Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton with a £50m fund.

Initial plans could see connected ambulances deployed across the region, providing paramedic crews with access to specialist advice using video conferencing and live streaming of patient data to the hospital en route.

Other ambitions include carrying out hospital outpatient appointments and emergency consultations remotely via video-link with a more stable connection than existing networks, which could enable patients to play back their appointment at a later date.

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