Press Release | 20 Sep 2018

Vodafone UK conducts first holographic call using 5G in live test

  • The UK’s first holographic call using 5G takes place between Manchester and Newbury  

  • Manchester City and England Captain, Steph Houghton, participates live in holographic form with young female fan in live test of 5G technology

  • Vodafone confirms ‘we are ready for 5G’ as first of seven UK test cities set to go live

  • Watch Vodafone make the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G here  

Vodafone has conducted a live, holographic phone call as part of the company’s 5G trials. The call, conducted between Vodafone’s offices in Manchester and Newbury is the first of its kind in the UK, and forms part of Vodafone’s ongoing testing of new 5G technology.

Manchester City and England Women’s Captain, Steph Houghton MBE, stationed in Manchester, interacted in 3D, real-time communication with Vodafone UK’s Enterprise Director, Anne Sheehan, in Newbury. This gives a glimpse of what advances in network and technology could bring to our lives in the future.  Also taking part in the conversation was young Manchester City and Lionesses fan Iris, 11. Iris’s dream of being in the same room as her idol was realised through the power of 5G and the use of a HoloLens virtual reality headset – despite being over 190 miles away. The exchange demonstrated the exciting possibilities that such technology can bring to sport, including remote coaching and training as well as the ability to bring fans closer to their idols.

The call follows Vodafone’s successful first test of new 5G spectrum across a live network in April 2018 and gives an early indication of how advances in technology can transform our lives in the future. The power of super-low latency 5G could enable a range of life-changing applications, from a surgeon remotely joining a theatre to advise on a patient’s condition, to a technician with a virtual reality headset advising on the fix of critical infrastructure, to 4K gaming on the move. 5G significantly reduces the time it takes for data to be sent and received. This will help eliminate the motion sickness many people experience when using today’s VR headsets over a mobile network.

Commenting on the ground breaking call, Vodafone UK’s Chief Technology Officer Scott Petty said: “We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to prepare for 5G with a multi-billion pound investment in new fibre infrastructure and technology. I can confirm today that we are ready and good to go with UK-wide city and rural 5G trials starting from next month.”

The holographic moment took place during Vodafone’s ‘Future Ready’ conference in front of a live audience. Football captain Steph Houghton MBE, who dialled in as a hologram from Manchester said: “It was fantastic to see first-hand the opportunities 5G could bring. As a player, one of the most exciting benefits of 5G is the ability to bring us closer to our fans no matter where they are, allowing us to interact with them remotely in real-time. When I’m playing abroad with Manchester City and England, this technology will also make it even easier to stay connected with everyone back home. To communicate in 3D, in real time and with no delay or interruption is an unbelievable experience.”

Vodafone also confirmed that in the coming weeks it will switch on 5G trials in the first of its city test beds, following end-to-end 5G testing at its Newbury-based laboratory. Manchester and Birmingham will be the first of Vodafone’s seven UK 5G test cities to go live, underlining a commitment to develop a super-fast and reliable network across the UK. We will also roll out 5G to popular UK holiday destinations such as Cornwall and the Lake District during 2019, so the UK’s cities aren’t the only places to benefit.

The infrastructure and technology is already in place to support 5G on our network. Vodafone was the first company in Europe to introduce Multiple Antenna (Massive MIMO) – an important building block of 5G – to boost capacity. With the addition of Software Defined Network and Edge Computing layers, we will be able to bring the power of 5G closer to customers on a mass scale when compatible devices arrive.


The Internet of Things

We believe 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) have the potential to transform life for us all. Vodafone already has around 74 million IoT connections worldwide, and we are building on our leadership by rolling out the UK’s first Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network to connect millions of critical appliances that other mobile services cannot reach.

For the first time, hard to reach, out of sight things such as gas or water leak detectors embedded underground, alarms situated deep within buildings or even livestock and electricity lines in remote areas will be able to be connected. The benefits of this will be far-reaching, from improving human safety and increasing energy efficiency, to connecting areas made inaccessible after extreme weather.

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For further information:

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: 01635 693 693


About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester and now have 5G in locations across Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain as well as the UK. Meanwhile, our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. Vodafone is the largest provider of full fibre in the UK – our superfast broadband services are now available to nearly 12 million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit:

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693


Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews


Vodafone Limited

Registered Office: Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2FN

Registered in England No: 1471587