Investment, research efforts by domestic firms pay off
The nation's three major telecom operators have won government approval to establish fifth-generation (5G) networks in some pilot cities, further promoting China's next-generation mobile communication technology.
China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom - China's three telecom giants - have all rolled out plans to develop 5G network stations in various cities and widen the scope of their trials, the Beijing Daily reported on Wednesday.
Xiang Ligang, chief executive of domestic telecom industry news site cctime.com, told the Global Times on Wednesday that China is working hard on the 5G development path on a timeline that is abreast with developed countries, and things are going well.
China Mobile, the world's biggest mobile phone operator by subscribers, confirmed to the Global Times Wednesday that it plans to conduct 5G tests in five cities including Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang Province, and Shanghai. In each city, more than 100 5G stations will be built.
China has established the world's largest 5G test field in Beijing's Huairou district, where about 30 telecom base stations had been built. China Mobile, Huawei, ZTE Corp and several foreign technology companies have finished China's second phase of 5G research and development tests, media reports said in December.
In addition to the five cities, China Mobile will hold 5G business application demonstrations in another 12 cities including Beijing, Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong Province and Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan Province.
China Unicom's Shandong Branch held trials of the 5G network in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province in March, where the first 5G base station opened this year. The peak rate of speed can be more than 10 times that of a 4G network, according to the Beijing Daily report.
Neither China Unicom nor China Telecom had responded to interview requests by the Global Times as of press time.
Fu Liang, a Beijing-based independent telecom industry analyst, told the Global Times on Wednesday that China's voice has gotten an obvious boost in the 5G international standard-setting process, compared with the previous network generations.
The first version of the 5G international standard will be officially released by 3GPP, a body that governs global cellular standards, by June this year, said Liu Duo, dean of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, in an interview in March, according to Xinhua News Agency.
The nation's rising 5G strength is inseparable from the early-mover status and vast investment in research and development led by domestic telecom equipment makers Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp, which have been spearheading the development and commercialization of 5G technologies in China, said Fu.
Huawei has invested 0 million in 5G research since 2009, according to a company spokesman, and it has committed another 0 million for this year, according to a New York Times report on March 7.
"When the US issued 3G or 4G licenses, it could ignore the attitude of Chinese companies. But now, if the U.S. wants to commercialize the 5G technology, it cannot avoid the patent rights of Huawei, ZTE and China Mobile," Fu noted.
As 5G is making the headlines with the power to usher in the Internet of Things including autonomous driving, virtual reality and medical care, it is bearing many expectations, which is "unnecessary," said Xiang. "It's better to view it more pragmatically."