EE has said that the commercial rollout of 5G won't commence until at least 2022.
Speaking at the Royal Institution in London this week, Professor Andy Sutton, EE's principal network architect said: “When we talk about 5G, we're talking about a network that may be introduced in about a decade.
"The standards will be ready by about 2020, and maybe we'll see some of the Asian operators go a little bit sooner as is generally the norm."
Some countries in Asia have already started trialling 5G. In Japan, NTT DoCoMo is working with six vendors to deliver 10Gbps speeds in some cities, while Samsung in South Korea is also reported to be experimenting.
Sutton said: "In Europe we'll probably see these networks come in around 2022, 2023, as the natural evolution of the LTE Advanced and 4G networks we have today."
5G will be capable of delivering between 1,000 and 5,000 times more data capacity that 3G and 4G networks today, according to Sutton. The aim is to create an illusion of 'infinite capacity' by ensuring there is sufficient data capacity for any application.
EE added that 5G will enable it to support the increasing amounts of data being transferred over its telecoms network.
The mobile operator anticipates that in five years time it will have to handle 12 times more traffic than it supports today.
Ed Ellis, head of network strategy and forecasting at EE, predicted that, in some cases, residents in rural areas will turn to mobile networks for services like video streaming as it’ll become faster than fixed line broadband.
Sutton added that EE’s 5G network will be underpinned by technology from a number of telecoms equipment manufacturers, including Ericsson and Huawei.
Huawei, already one of EE's key networking partners, is backing the EU’s £373 million Horizon 2020 programme, which aims to ensure that Europe is a key player in the 5G market. However, the Chinese networking giant recently said European research into 5G could be hindered due to a lack of talent.
Sutton concluded: “There may not be a 6G if we get 5G right. We may change the way we evolve networks from that major generational shift to a more a subtle evolution of capacity and capability.”