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(Pocket-lint) - Vodafone has been testing out an experimental version of its 5G network at Manchester Airport, showing off download speeds around four times that of 4G. 

Demonstrations showed a 656MB episode of Tin Star downloading in around 45 seconds, while the whole season dropped onto the trial 5G device in six minutes. On 4G, the season took 26 minutes to download. 

Even though this was an experimental network which had been set up as a demonstration of 5G by Vodafone, it provides a good illustration of how much better real-world 5G downloads will be.

However the trial didn't quite reflect a completely real-world experience since there are no 5G phones as yet. Instead, consumers in the trial were able to connect to 5G via Vodafone's Gigacube 5G-enabled router.

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They then downloaded content to the Now TV app - those who took part in the trial were given a Now TV Entertainment Pass. 

The trial used a 5G antenna with Active Antenna (or Massive MiMo) tech – enabling the transmitting and receiving of more than one data signal from one antenna. The 5G router is then used to provide a fixed wireless access connection that can be used by people with today's devices.

Vodafone will have live 5G services in other major UK cities including Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool and London before the end of the year. It has also teamed up with O2 to build a joint 5G network outside of the major population areas to save costs and roll-out the network more quickly. 

Writing by Dan Grabham. Originally published on 18 February 2019.