5G network to arrive in London by 2020, claims Boris Johnson

Silver "5G" in 3D

London Mayor Boris Johnson looks set to declare that smartphone users in the capital will have access to 5G services by 2020.

Johnson is expected to announce that London will kick-off the nationwide rollout of the ultra-fast network while unveiling the capital's first long-term infrastructure investment plan later this week, according to a report in The Telegraph.

The document will see the London Mayor set out his vision for how the capital's infrastructure needs to change between now and 2050. It's been billed as the first ever attempt to quantify the capital's infrastructure needs and costs.

As part of this, Johnson will announce London as the site of the world's first major 5G mobile network, and that it will be switched on by 2020.

"London is earning a reputation for being the tech capital of Europe and that is why we need to ensure every Londoner is able to access the very best digital connectivity," Johnson said.

"Rapidly improving the connectivity of this great city is a key part of the Infrastructure Plan for London."

At the moment, the technology that will underpin the delivery of 5G services is still being actively researched, with Huawei investing millions into its development, while the University of Surrey has also been leading efforts in this area for some time.

Even so, it's been hailed as the future of connectivity by the likes of Ofcom, who claim its development is essential to ensure network speeds and capacities continue to keep pace with the growing mobile computing demands of consumers and business users.

Johnson's comments mirror those made by Prime Minister David Cameron during the CeBIT trade fair in Germany in March 2014, where he promised the UK would feel the benefits of 5G connectivity soon.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.