Friday 24 February 2017 10:46 am

5G to come to central London in 2017: New routers could spell the end of fixed line broadband

5G networks will be trialled in central London later this year with telecoms infrastructure firm Arqiva teaming up with boffins at Samsung to develop the new technology.

Britain is in the process of dragging itself into the 21st century by developing the country’s fixed line superfast fibre access.

But fixed access 5G points to be tested by Samsung and Arqiva could be a viable alternative, bypassing the need to dig up roads and lay down extra cable.

Read more: Fiver not fibre: O2 boss makes the case for 5G

Instead of plugging into a phone line or fibre connection, 5G access units pick up 5G coverage and distribute a wireless network across a given area, replicating the function of a standard fixed line wireless router.

Arqiva and Samsung described the benefits of the units in a statement this morning:

These can be self-installed, therefore limiting costs, and can bring a subscriber online in a matter of minutes.

This gives 5G considerable advantages over comparable fibre-to-the-home deployments in terms of service rollout times and the costs to both the service provider and the subscriber.

Last week, O2 chief executive Mark Evans told City A.M. 5G mobile networks in the UK can be delivered more quickly than fibre broadband and provide a boost of billions of pounds to Britain’s economy.

British Telecom

The news comes as BT announced its own tie-up with King's College, London to develop 5G technology.

BT is best known for its fixed line capabilities, despite owning mobile firm EE. And the FTSE 100 firm has partnered with the university to test the technology, which is currently slated for a 2020 UK launch.

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Howard Watson, BT's technology chief, said: "The initial focus of the collaboration is on proof of concept solutions and trials of services needing both high availability and low latency – both key features of the forthcoming 5G technology."