Virgin Trains has announced that it tested its 5G-powered Wi-Fi on trains, claiming to be the first railway company to trial the new technology. Once this is available on trains, Virgin says that customers can expect speeds up to ten times faster than what they are currently accustomed to when travelling.
However, the company acknowledged that 5G Wi-Fi is very much in the early stages, and isn’t sure when it’ll be commercially available.
What happened in the trial?
The trial was carried out on Virgin Train services between London Euston and Birmingham New Street, and between London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly. Virgin used the Vodafone 5G network to provide the 5G after installing the new network in Birmingham New Street station, as part of an early trial before rolling out 5G services.
Vodafone is keen on provided 5G for transport after introducing 5G-powered Wi-Fi at Manchester Airport earlier this year.
Deliver the best experience
Experiencing ultra-fast 5G speeds on trains is important for commuters, and will allow many to experience the kind of speeds they get at home and in the office, whilst on the move. However, Virgin Trains haven’t yet shared how its coverage will look, and it’s unlikely that it will maintain 10x faster speeds throughout an entire journey.
“Virgin Trains has always aimed to deliver the best customer experience by offering our passengers the latest in technological innovation,” said John Sullivan, CIO at Virgin Trains. “Over the course of our 22-year tenure, we have launched industry firsts including Amazon Alexa ticket booking, disruption management, Automatic Delay Repay and BEAM – our on-board entertainment streaming service.
“We may be coming to the end of our time running the West Coast Mainline, but Virgin Trains is excited to be playing an important part in the early stages of this 5G project, which is another example of how we have led the way in digital innovation within the rail industry.”
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