Manchester Airport becomes UK’s first 5G airport

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Manchester Airport has become the first UK airport to offer 5G network access as part of a trial by Vodafone, with passengers testing the new, super-fast network downloading films or TV boxsets up to four times quicker than over 4G.

Vodafone 5G masts are now in place at the airport, forming part of the 5G trials taking place across the city. Further trials over the coming weeks will include Snow Hill railway station in Birmingham.

Passengers at Manchester’s Terminal One visited Vodafone’s special 5G ‘blast pod’ and were given a free Entertainment Pass on streaming service Now TV. Airport users could download an episode of the new series of Tin Star in 45 seconds and the whole series in six minutes and seven seconds – up to four times faster than over 4G, which took 26 minutes and eight seconds. At these speeds, Vodafone’s 5G network will allow a home wi-fi like experience, on the go.

Nick Jeffery, CEO, Vodafone UK, said, “We all love to catch up on our favorite TV shows, play games or finish off some work when traveling. 5G, with its fast speeds and quick response times, will make that quick and easy, even in busy locations. We are proud to be the first provider to bring 5G to an airport and will be adding more major travel hotspots to our 5G network throughout the year.”

Brad Miller, chief operating officer, Manchester Airport, said, “We are delighted to support Vodafone’s 5G trial at Manchester Airport. As we progress with the design and delivery of our £1bn [US$1.29bn] transformation program, we are constantly exploring how new innovations and technology can be applied to improve the airport experience.

“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.”

As 5G handsets are not yet available for consumers, Vodafone completed the trial using its ‘Gigacube’ device – a portable router that is 5G enabled. Consumers connected to 5G via the Gigacube and used their Now TV Entertainment Pass to download and stream content.

With faster speeds, low latency and increased capacity, 5G has the potential to revolutionize day-to-day lives by enabling smart airports and roads, as well as better connected cars, businesses and homes. It will act as a catalyst for emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, robotics and connected cities.

Watch a video on the Manchester Airport 5G experience here.

Interested in discovering more about the digital transformation of Manchester Airport? Nick Woods, chief information officer – MAG (Manchester Airports Group), will present ‘Digital transformation of legacy airport applications across MAG’ at the Passenger Terminal Conference, which takes place during Passenger Terminal Expo, March 26-28, 2019, in London. Register for your delegate pass, here

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With over a decade of experience as a business and technology journalist working in B2B publishing, Hazel first joined UKi in 2011. After taking 18 months off to bring up her daughter and try her hand at marketing copywriting, she returned in January 2018 to do what she loves best – magazine editing! She is now the editor of UKi's Passenger Terminal World and Parcel and Postal Technology International magazines.

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