Vodafone Ireland has launched Ireland’s first live 5G network site open for trials in Dublin’s Docklands. To showcase the site’s capabilities, the first Irish international holographic call was carried out between Ireland and Vodafone’s Innovation Centre in Germany using fully standardised 5G technology.

The network consists of fully standardised Ericsson 5G being deployed over Vodafone Ireland’s recently acquired 5G spectrum. Vodafone Ireland will use this 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.

The first Irish international holographic call was a demonstration of the type of possibilities that can be achieved on 5G, which could become an everyday future reality across business and society in Ireland. Benefits include robotic surgery, driverless cars and real time virtual gaming on the move.

This significant technological milestone sees Ireland’s first live 5G network site launched to allow businesses looking to explore or validate new products or services that require the high-speed, high-efficiency capability of this network to undertake trials for the first time.

Vodafone and Ericsson have also partnered 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.

Furthermore, successful applicants can gain access to a range of support services and applications to foster the development of 5G use cases, including:

  • access to talent, mentors, and investors;
  • access to a range of programmes for venture creation and growth;
  • Internet of Things (IoT)/5G use case development programmes; and
  • access to finance.

Hosted by Vodafone Ireland’s CEO, Anne O’Leary, the holographic call involved a Q&A session with Max Gasparroni, Vodafone Ireland’s Interim CTO, who was in Germany.

This landmark announcement follows Vodafone’s first successful live demonstration of pre-standard 5G technology in Ireland last February, which achieved 15 Gigabit per second speeds with a latency of less than five milliseconds.

 Anne O’Leary, CEO of Vodafone Ireland said: “As a business, we pride ourselves on being first to market with cutting edge, industry leading innovation. Our event today highlights our ongoing commitment to this. Making Ireland’s first ever live holographic call over 5G was a demonstration of how this new technology could eventually transform how we interact with each other across borders and time zones.  It also demonstrates the wider potential that the launch of our 5G network can bring, not just to business, but to communities and citizens in the future.  

“With the speed and efficiency now offered, we can experiment with new and innovative IoT devices that will ultimately have the power to transform how we deliver products and services. Using our testbed in the Docklands, companies can now experiment and work to improve life changing technology, such as medical devices.”

John Griffin, Managing Director of Ericsson Ireland said: “We’re determined to roll-out 5G to businesses and consumers in Ireland with our partner Vodafone. 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.”

Tom Flanagan, Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, University College Dublin said: “It will be exciting to see new 5G products, services, and businesses that have truly global potential be launched first here in Ireland. We are delighted to be working with Vodafone and Ericsson on the new NovaUCD 5G accelerator programme announced today. Participants on the programme will be able to access the business and technical expertise of Vodafone and Ericsson in 5G, as well as the expertise at NovaUCD, in developing and scaling new innovative hi-tech ventures, attracting investment and taking on the global opportunities.”

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