Vodafone commits to deploy 5G SA technology in Northern Ireland – RCR Wireless News

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Vodafone noted that the cumulative benefits of 5G for economic output in Northern Ireland stand at $3.42 billion between 2026 and 2030

U.K. operator Vodafone said it aims to roll out its 5G Standalone (5G SA) technology to Northern Ireland as part of its proposed merger with rival carrier Three UK.

In a release, Vodafone also said it commits to exceeding the U.K. Government’s Shared Rural Network minimum target of bringing 4G to more than 85% of Northern Ireland’s geography, by ensuring at least 98% of Northern Ireland’s landmass has access to the technology by 2027.

Vodafone also noted that the new entity resulting from the merger with Three UK will upgrade this network to have more than 98% 5G SA geographic coverage by 2034, which will also be available to 4G customers.

According to Vodafone UK research, the cumulative benefits of 5G for economic output in Northern Ireland stand at £2.7 billion ($3.42 billion) between 2026 and 2030.

Vodafone said that the deployment of 5G SA in Northern Ireland will allow the use of drones in remote or hard-to-reach areas to provide vital information for first responders and care teams during emergency situations, such as fires or traffic collisions.

In the agriculture sector, farmers in rural regions of Norther Ireland would be able to use new innovations like soil sensors to boost productivity, reduce environmental impact and drive growth, the telco added.

Vodafone and Three UK had previously said that the recent decision by the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to carry out a new in-depth review of their proposed merger was in line with the expected timeframe for completion of the transaction. In a joint statement, the two telcos said they remain confident that the transaction will deliver significant benefits in terms of competition.

Last year, Vodafone UK, which is owned by Vodafone Group and Three UK, owned by CK Hutchison Holdings, had announced a new joint venture agreement that would bring their operations under a single network provider. Under the terms of the proposed merger, Vodafone will own 51% of the new entity while Hutchison Group will own 49%.

“The merger will create a third mobile network operator with scale, able and incentivized to invest fully in a best-in-class network. A combined network would also boost competition in the wholesale market, by offering greater choice to MVNOs, the fastest growing segment of the UK’s mobile industry,” they added.

The CMA recently highlighted that it has concerns that the deal could lead to mobile customers facing higher prices and reduced quality.

The CMA launched the initial phase of an antitrust investigation in January after the entity was notified by the two carriers about the proposed merger. This initial review is designed to identify whether the deal may lead to a “substantial lessening of competition” and therefore requires an in-depth, phase 2 investigation. Phase 2 investigations allow an independent panel of experts to probe in more depth initial concerns identified at phase 1, the CMA explained.

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