Vodafone UK has unveiled seven cities that will become 5G test areas, with roll-outs starting between October and December this year.

The firms says they form part of a major investment in building a world-class network infrastructure capable of connection speeds of one gigabit per second wherever people are in the country.

Its engineers are laying the groundwork for 5G at more than 40 sites in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester.

Discussions with a number of enterprise customers are also underway, with a view to testing new 5G applications such as augmented and virtual reality in offices, factories and hospitals.

The commercial launch of full 5G is expected to arrive early in 2020 to coincide with a wide choice of compatible phones and devices.

“We want to make 5G and new fibre broadband services available to consumers and business throughout the UK, delivering a Gigabit society for all,” said Vodafone UK chief executive Nick Jeffery.

“We will also be bringing ultra-fast 4G to several hundred sites in hard to reach rural areas this year, building on our position as the network that offers the best voice coverage in the UK.”