Vodafone shows how 5G could bring phones into the future with holographic calls

Manchester City and England Women’s football captain Steph Houghton takes part in the UK’s first 5G holographic call (Andrew Matthews/PA) Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Vodafone has teased tech fans with a live demonstration of how 5G could be used to make holographic calls in the future.

A young football fan got to virtually meet Manchester City and England Women’s football captain Steph Houghton in a live test using the technology.

With the use of Microsoft’s HoloLens headset alongside 5G they were able to communicate despite being physically 190 miles apart.

Steph Houghton, takes part in the UK’s first 5G holographic call with young fan Iris, 11, from Surrey. Credit: PA

Iris, 11, from Surrey took part in the call in front of a live audience in Newbury with Steph Houghton.

Vodafone claims this is a UK first and demonstrated how high volumes of data can be sent out with little delay compared to existing mobile network technologies.

As well as improving connection speeds for smartphones, 5G is also being heralded as a potential way to carry out remote robotic surgery, and for 4K gaming on the move.

Initial plans could see ambulance crews with the access to video conferencing and live streaming of patient data while en route.

The British conglomerate has already confirmed that Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester will be used as the company’s testing ground for 5G next month, and will follow with Cornwall and the Lake District in 2019.

Anne Sheehan, right, Vodafone's UK enterprise director also took part in the trial. Credit: PA

The RAC Foundation revealed earlier this year that across the UK, about 2% of roads have no mobile coverage at all with only around 51% with 4G.

No official date has been set for 5G to be made available publicly, but many are expecting 5G capable smartphones to get could it as soon as 2019.

Although, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport recently announced a £50 million fund for the West Midlands to be the UK’s first large-scale test-bed for 5G.

Vodafone UK chief executive Nick Jeffery said: "Vodafone has a history of firsts in UK telecoms - we made the nation’s first mobile phone call, sent the first text and now we’ve conducted the UK’s first holographic call using 5G."

Other ambitions include carrying out hospital outpatient appointments and emergency consultations remotely via video-link with a more stable connection than existing networks, which could enable patients to play back their appointment at a later date.