Roll-out of next generation 5G technology to boost business expansion in Belfast
Business has welcomed the arrival of 5G in Belfast as telecoms firm EE led the roll-out of the mobile technology across a range of UK cities.
5G is the next generation of wireless mobile connections, succeeding the 4G networks currently in use on smartphones.
The service, launched in six UK cities yesterday, is tipped to be 10 times faster than 4G.
Ann McGregor, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said 5G would bring a "huge opportunity for business growth" and would be key to innovations in tech, including artificial intelligence and automation.
"With Belfast being one of the first cities to provide 5G, this will ensure that local businesses remain competitive and continue to be attractive to inward investors," she added.
"It will also support a new generation of start-ups and other business areas - such as in medicine, banking and automation - where fast reliable internet connections are critical."
And Paul Terrington, chairman of business advisory firm PwC in Northern Ireland, said it would secure the growth of the city after it secured funding for a City Deal from Westminster.
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He added: "The World Economic Forum says 5G will be 'as revolutionary as electricity or the automobile' and, combined with talent from Queen's University and Ulster University, it will ensure the local ecosystem is well-primed to achieve its ambitions."
Vodafone will launch 5G across seven more cities in the UK on July 3, with a further 12 to follow.