Vodafone Germany teamed with Ericsson, Qualcomm and Oppo to commercialise its 5G standalone network in Europe, in what was claimed as a first for the region, covering several cities.

In a statement, the companies said the move marked a milestone in the development of the technology in Europe. Vodafone upgraded 1,000 sites to SA 5G, covering 170 cities and municipalities on 3.5GHz spectrum.

The partners explained SA 5G is a more “complete form” of the next generation technology.

Ericsson supplied its cloud-native 5G core infrastructure, with the network tested on the Oppo Find X3 Pro smartphones powered by the Snapdragon 888 5G mobile platform.

Vodafone Germany CTO Gerhard Mack explained the first sites offered latency of between 10 milliseconds and 15 milliseconds, “as fast as the human nervous system”.

“These ultra-low latency times are now arriving step-by-step to consumers across Germany as we put more and more 5G facilities into operation,” he added.

The quartet of companies have been working together to test SA 5G in numerous sites across three German cities since November 2020.

Vodafone Germany’s commercialisation of the technology comes as a welcome boost for Europe, with major US operators Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile US all moving to offer SA 5G services in 2020.

It also got the jump on domestic rival Deutsche Telekom, which said it would test SA 5G in a town outside Munich in February 2021.