Vodafone brings 5G to Manchester Airport to end pre-flight downloads scramble

Vodafone is giving travellers the opportunity to sample its future 5G network with a new trial at Manchester Airport.

The extension of the network’s 5G trials commenced last Friday, with a new pod positioned in the departure sound at the airport. Vodafone says this is the first of several 5G commuter hotspots that’ll be trialed throughout 2019 and the first of its kind for any UK network.

The company hasn’t specified how it is bringing the 5G speeds to the 4G devices owned by travellers, but does say these ‘5G zones’ could be common around the UK in the future, with speeds akin to home Wi-Fi.

So why the airport? Vodafone says its research has shown its subscribers want faster download speeds when they’re at key commuter locations. So, if you’re someone who frantically scrambles to download all of your Netflix shows, Spotify playlists and podcasts right before take-off, while using shoddy airport Wi-Fi, this trial could be right up your alley.

Related: What is 5G? 5G vs 4G explained

The company hasn’t said which other commuter locations it’s planning to roll out the ‘blast’ zones, but we’ll keep you posted if they come to a town near you.

Back in January, Vodafone also announced the first “full 5G” trial in the United Kingdom. The experiment in Salford, Greater Manchester brings 5G speeds to MediaCityUK and the surrounding area, using the 3.4GHz spectrum and MIMO tech.

The telecoms giant is making use of its nationwide converged fibre network, which allows it to put 5G through its paces by using end-to-end wireless routers (via Inquirer). Vodafone says this differs from other networks’ trials, such as the EE test at Canary Wharf, which are still reliant on parts of the 4G infrastructure.

The network plans to introduce similar 5G trials in another six cities around the UK, ahead of the 5G roll out sometime next year. 60 sites in total will go live ahead of the planned nationwide roll out of the next-gen mobile data speeds.

Have you sampled Vodafone’s 5G zone in the Manchester Airport departure lounge this weekend? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.