Birmingham’s New Street station is to become the first in the UK to test new 5G connectivity technology.

Vodafone operated the test which was first used by Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street on the concourse. Passengers at the station were also invited to test 5G speeds using a 5G router.

The technology, which will soon be available in new smartphone handsets, will allow commuters in busy locations to load content faster.

Vodafone is rolling out 5G to a number of key commuter locations across the UK during 2019; and will switch on the new network in 19 towns and cities, including Wolverhampton, by the end of the year.

The introduction of 5G services supports the West Midlands Combined Authority’s strategy to give consumers and businesses in Birmingham and the surrounding area the very latest digital communications.

Live testing is now also taking place at a number of sites across the city. The sites are all connected to Vodafone’s multi-billion-pound single optical fibre converged network.

“I am delighted that Vodafone has brought 5G to Birmingham; and that New Street is the UK’s first 5G-enabled rail station,” said Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street.

“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.”

Anne Sheehan, Director of Vodafone Business added: “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.”

The West Midlands Urban Connected Communities 5G Project (UCC), initiated and jointly funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), will create the UK’s first region-wide 5G test bed and will roll out later this year.