(Bloomberg) -- BT Group Plc expects revenue from its investment in quantum communications within 18 months, Chief Technology Officer Howard Watson said.

The British phone company said consulting firm EY was its first trial customer for a quantum key distribution network, in a partnership with Japanese technology company Toshiba Corp. 

“I think we’ll start to see revenue being generated from this, I reckon 18 months,” Watson said at an event in the London-based telecommunications group’s BT Tower on Tuesday. “We like to think that a business is worth putting all this effort in now, if in 10 years’ time we can see it’s generating revenues in the order of half a billion.” 

QKD is one of a number of ways banks, researchers and institutions believe they can secure data transmissions today in a way that will make theoretically them impervious to the massive power of quantum computers tomorrow. The technology’s been in development since at least the 1990s and is in large part reliant on the properties of quantum physics.

EY will trial a connection between offices in Canary Wharf and London Bridge, including with its own clients. 

BT and Toshiba’s clients could include the U.K. government and banks, Watson said, adding that BT met with the U.K.’s Department for International Trade and financial institutions earlier on Tuesday.

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