New Street Station in Birmingham has become the UK’s first station to trial 5G high speed digital communications connectivity.
The live test, conducted by Vodafone, saw West Midlands Mayor Andy Street testing the 5G connection on the station’s concourse; while passengers were invited to connect to 5G wifi on platforms. Vodafone is trialling 5G connections in a number of locations in central Birmingham; and plans to roll out 5G technology to 19 other towns and cities by the end of 2019.
Mayor Street said: “I am delighted that Vodafone has brought 5G to Birmingham and that New Street is the UK’s first 5G-enabled rail station. 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.”
The Birmingham 5G trial forms part of a wider strategy on the part of the West Midlands Combined Authority, which aims to cutting-edge digital technology to residents of Birmingham and its environs. The West Midlands Urban Connected Communities 5G Project, devised by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, intends to build the UK’s first regional test bed for 5G connectivity in the Midlands; with the goal of rolling out the technology nationwide later this year.
Anne Sheehan, director of Vodafone Business, said: “We are delighted to bring 5G to the West Midlands, giving businesses, residents and visitors fast and reliable connectivity even in exceptionally busy locations such as train stations and airports. 5G will enable new applications and experiences and support the development of connected cities and smart transport solutions. It will help businesses to implement emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, IoT and robotics. We look forward to continuing to work with Andy Street and his team to deliver the vision of a more prosperous and digitally connected region.”