WATCH | Vodafone trials 5G at Manchester Airport

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Nicola Byrne

The telecom giant has switched on a 5G trial at Manchester Airport after launching the UK’s first full 5G trial in Salford only a few months ago.

Vodafone 5G masts are now in place at the airport, forming part of the 5G trials taking place across the city including Media City, the home of the BBC, ITV, and more than 250 smaller media and digital businesses.

Manchester Airport is the first of several travel spots where Vodafone will be giving commuters the opportunity to trial the latest technology. Further trials over the coming weeks will include Snow Hill railway station in Birmingham.

Passengers in Terminal 1 were encouraged to use their connection to Vodafone’s ‘Gigacube’ device, a portable router that is 5G enabled, to download content up to 4 times quicker than over 4G and provide them with entertainment for their flights.

Brad Miller, chief operating officer at Manchester Airport said as the airport progresses with the design and delivery of its £1bn transformation programme, they are “constantly exploring how new innovations and technology can be applied to improve the airport experience” and described Vodafone as “a natural partner for a trial project like this”.

The airport is also due to commence trials for Autonomous Vehicles this July, with 3 electric driverless vehicles known as PODs, created by Westfield Technology, which will be offering journeys between the transport interchange and the entrance to Terminal 2.

5G handsets are not yet available for consumers, which James Hope, head of North network at Vodafone, believes we will see “at the end of the first half of this year”. There are currently 8 Vodafone 5G hotspots in Manchester which Hope revealed the firm is hoping to increase to 50-60 hotspots by June.

With faster speeds, low latency – the time it takes to transfer data – and increased capacity, 5G has the potential to change our day-to-day lives by enabling smart airports and roads, better connected cars, businesses and homes.

The new generation of mobile technology will act as a catalyst for emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and has the potential to transform the property industry.

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