Birmingham New Street has joined Vodafone’s UK-wide 5G trial, making it the first 5G train station in the UK.
Commuters were able to try the 5G speeds for themselves using a 5G router. Though sadly they can’t take advantage for themselves, as 5G handsets are yet to launch.
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, tested the new technology on the New Street concourse.
5G is due to arrive later this year. It promises speeds far faster than the current 4G networks, allowing you to download films near instantly. It will also make loading web pages or online videos quicker, with no lag or buffering.
As well as New Street station, Vodafone is testing 5G at a number of sites across Birmingham, as well as the wider UK. All of its sites are connected to Vodafone’s multi-billion-pound single optical fibre converged network, which already provides 4G coverage.
“I am delighted that Vodafone has brought 5G to Birmingham; and that New Street is the UK’s first 5G-enabled rail station,” Street said. “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.”
5G trials are also being held across the UK by EE, O2 and Three. Like 4G before it, it’s likely to only be available in select location at launch, but it’s hoped it will cover the vast majority of the UK soon after.
5G networks could arrive as soon as this summer. But you’ll need a compatible device to take advantage of the faster speeds. Those confirmed for this year include the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Huawei Mate X, LG V50 ThinQ 5G and HTC Mobile Smart Hub.
OnePlus has also confirmed it will launch a 5G phone this year, possibly alongside the OnePlus 7 next month.