Commuters and travellers are being invited to test superfast speeds after Vodafone installed the first 5G network in a UK train station.
This time last year the Newbury-based mobile operator had become the first UK operator to test its 5G spectrum across a live network.
In 2018 Vodafone secured 50 MHz of 3.4 GHz spectrum at a cost of £378,240, the largest slice of 5G spectrum in Ofcom’s auction.
Vodafone said that Birmingham New Street has now become the first train station to test the superfast mobile technology.
The launch of the trial was attended by Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, and passengers at the station were also invited to test 5G speeds using a 5G router.
“I am delighted that Vodafone has brought 5G to Birmingham; and that New Street is the UK’s first 5G-enabled rail station,” said Andy Street. “When I was Managing Director at John Lewis, we saw online shopping transform the retail industry. I believe the West Midlands 5G project will enable our businesses, hospitals, public transport and universities to explore new services and stay ahead of their competition.”
A video of the 5G trial can be found here.
The idea is that when compatible 5G handsets and devices arrive later this year, commuters in busy locations will be able to enjoy superfast connectivity.
Vodafone claims that thanks to 5G’s super low latency, they will be able to stream a movie or download a work file over 5G seamlessly without buffering or lag.
Vodafone also said it is rolling out 5G network in a number of key commuter locations during the year, and it will also switch on 5G networks in 19 towns and cities by the end of the year.
“5G will enable new applications and experiences and support the development of connected cities and smart transport solutions,” said Anne Sheehan, Director of Vodafone Business. “It will help businesses to implement emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, IoT and robotics.”
Earlier this week SK Telecom launched what it claimed was the world’s first commercial 5G network, spanning 85 cities.
But this claim was immediately disputed American carrier AT&T, which said it rolled out a “commercial and standards-based” 5G network (across 12 cities) in December last year.
Verizon in the US meanwhile is expected to launch its 5G network in two cities on 11 April.
The world meanwhile just waits for the arrival of the first 5G smartphones.
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