Manchester Airport has become the first transport hub in the UK to benefit from 5G mobile connectivity, after Vodafone switched on services as part of a new trial of the technology.
This means travellers heading off on their half-term breaks are able to download content at speeds up to four times faster than the existing 4G network, ensuring they have plenty of entertainment to last through their flight.
To make sure they could access enough content to test the network, passengers at Terminal One who visited Vodafone’s special 5G 'blast pod' were given a free Entertainment Pass for streaming service NOW TV. With 5G, this could let them download the entire series of Sky Atlantic's Tin Star in six minutes and seven seconds – compared with 26 minutes and eight seconds for 4G.
Because no current smartphone is actually able to connect to 5G, the trial was completed using Vodafone's 'Gigacube' device, which is a portable 5G-connected router. Consumers connected to 5G via the Gigacube and used their Now TV Entertainment Pass to download and stream content.
Manchester Airport is the first of several transport hot spots where Vodafone will be trialling 5G, with masts also set to go live in the coming weeks at Snow Hill railway station in Birmingham.
Nick Jeffery, chief executive of Vodafone UK, said: "We all love to catch up on our favourite TV shows, play games or finish off some work when travelling. 5G, with its fast speeds and quick response times, will make that quick and easy, even in busy locations."
Vodafone added that 5G will enable holidaymakers and business travellers to load web pages or videos instantly and seamlessly stream movies over 5G without buffering or lag thanks to the ultra-low latency it provides.
Chief operating officer at Manchester Airport Brad Miller added: "As a business with a strong presence in our surrounding community, Vodafone was a natural partner for a trial project like this and we look forward to collaborating with them again in the future."