British mobile network operator (MNO) Vodafone UK has announced the switch-on of a 5G hotspot at Manchester Airport as part of ongoing trials of the next generation of mobile broadband technology in the city. In a press release the cellco revealed that, as 5G handsets are not yet available for consumers, it had completed the trial using its ‘Gigacube’ device – a portable router that is 5G enabled. As such, the trial has seen consumers connect to 5G via the Gigacube and use a free ‘Entertainment Pass’ for streaming video service NOW TV to download and stream content. With regards to technical details of the trial, the MNO noted that it had used 5G with Active Antenna (or Massive MIMO) technology at Manchester Airport, while looking ahead it has said it expects to conduct further trials over the coming weeks at locations including Snow Hill railway station in Birmingham.
Nick Jeffery, Vodafone UK’s CEO, said of the development: ‘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. 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.’