Sadiq Khan has backed a new report that calls for a quicker rollout of 5G infrastructure in London and beyond.
A new report out today by former Treasury economist Matthew Oakley, and commissioned by Vodafone, found that an upgrade from 4G to 5G infrastructure would have a £120bn benefit to the UK economy over 10 years.
London would benefit in this same timeframe by a £37.9bn uptick in economic output.
The report found that 5G would help “the take-up of smart healthcare devices” and that “schools and universities would have more capability to conduct virtual lessons over faster and more reliable mobile networks”.
Vodafone has previously expressed its support for Chinese telecoms company Huawei to help build the UK’s 5G network.
“As our economy begins to recover from the effects of Covid-19, we need to explore the potential of 5G to improve Londoners’ lives – from how they get around the city to how they access healthcare,” Khan said.
“Through our ambitious work on improving digital connectivity, we’re using London’s streets and the Tube network to improve fibre coverage and lay the foundations for 5G over the next decade.”
Vodafone chief executive Nick Jeffery added: “5G will play a vital role as the economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is crucial to recognise the role that fast and reliable connectivity will play in unlocking the digital potential that exists in every region across the country.”
The new report comes after recent speculation suggesting the UK was prepared to U-turn on its decision let Huawei help build the country’s 5G network.
Boris Johnson made the decision earlier this year to allow Huawei to build “non-core” elements, which were deemed to be less vulnerable to potential security attacks.
Downing Street has come under heavy pressure from Conservative MPs about Huawei’s involvement, with many concerned the firm could collect sensitive information through the network on behalf of the Chinese state.
Earlier this month, Vodafone UK’s chief technology officer Scott Petty said “UK’s leadership in 5G will be lost” if it drops Huawei from helping build the network.