Vodafone will supply 5G for the UK’s largest electricity operator in world-first trial

Vodafone will supply 5G for the UK’s largest electricity operator in world-first trial
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Vodafone will supply UK Power Networks, the country’s largest electricity network operator, with 5G connectivity in a world-first trial.

In November last year, UK Power Networks launched its Constellation project that aims to transform how electricity networks operate. Constellation enables local substations to analyse millions of datapoints on how the network is running, meaning the network can safely reconfigure itself to enable higher volumes.

Ian Cameron, Head of Customer Service and Innovation at UK Power Networks, said about Constellation:

“Working with Vodafone and our industry and academic partners, we are creating an exciting platform that keeps our networks the smartest in the world.

We already have smart control rooms and smart electric vehicle chargers – developing smart substations in the middle will help us facilitate net zero and deliver real cost and carbon savings for our customers.”

Vodafone is supporting the Constellation project by enabling the substations to connect with each other over a dedicated, highly secure slice of Vodafone’s 5G Standalone (5G SA) network.

5G is up to 100 times faster than 3G and ten times faster than 4G and will allow each substation to analyse millions of data points and manage the network to run more efficiently. The use of slicing enables the same infrastructure to be split into several virtual networks with their own characteristics such as low latency or high bandwidth.

Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer at Vodafone UK, commented:

“Helping our customers achieve their ambitious net zero targets is an essential part of our strategy. The team at UK Power Networks has seen the huge potential of 5G and network slicing.

5G is not only replacing older and more expensive technologies, it is bringing about new capabilities that benefit everyone – consumers, businesses and our environment. 

We are looking forward to working with UK Power Networks on this exciting and innovative project.”

Constellation hopes to help the UK achieve its net-zero carbon emissions target by creating extra room for renewables on the network. Clean energy generators at UK Power Networks – including wind and solar – have grown from just a handful in 1990 to more than 170,000 today.

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