Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, will promise in a presentation this week to bring hyper-fast 5G mobile connections to the city by 2020. It’s all part of a long-term investment plan into the city’s infrastructure needs, which will lay out a basic roadmap between now and 2050. Johnson’s statement comes several months after UK Prime Minister David Cameron talked about 5G’s forthcoming introduction during his keynote speech at the CeBIT technology expo.
The shift to 5G will be crucial to maintain London’s growing reputation as the tech capital of Europe, according to Boris Johnson, and it could earn the title of being the world’s first major 5G network. However, details are slim at this point, but the mayor has confirmed the University of Surrey will be collaborating on the project.
If you’re wondering why it’s not Vodafone, EE, or another mobile network, it’s because the university is home to the UK’s 5G Innovation Center; plus 5G is still a long way off from becoming reality. Networks are more concerned about strengthening their new 4G systems (and even 3G, in some cases), and are unlikely to address 5G until its specifications are determined by the official regulators. All networks are working closely with the 5G Innovation Centre though, and are assisting with its research.
Cameron’s talk of 5G in March this year was premature, and it’s the same story this time around, so don’t go marking the date in your 10-year diaries just yet. It’s also worth noting the mayor doesn’t state whether the 5G rollout planned for 2020 will be anything more than a widespread test. Previous estimates have put 5G’s UK launch around 2022.
We should be excited about 5G though, as when it does arrive, it will have a considerably larger capacity so more devices could be connected to it, and vastly improved speeds. Just don’t hold your breath.