China’s 5G network trials announced; commercial service in 2020

China’s three main telecommunications providers are proceeding smoothly with a 5G pilot in major cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, the state-owned Economic Information Daily reported, citing unspecified sources close to the telcos and the communications ministry.

During the later half of this year, China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom will start the 5G pilot in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Nanjing, Suzhou and Ningbo, the report said. Around 10 cities from provinces such as Jiangxi, Hainan, Shanxi, Shandong, Hebei will also be selected for the pilot.

–>That will position China for the commercial implementation of a 5G network as early as 2020, the report stated.   China Telecom said it expects to launch commercial 5G services in 2020.

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Editor’s Note:  Again, the ITU-R standards for 5G (IMT – 2020) won’t be completed till the end of 2020.

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Separately, China Telecom plans to trial 5G networks in six cities across the country. China Telecom will carry out field trials in six cities, as well as develop R&D applications and services in cooperation with partners from various industries.

“We are deeply devoted to engaging in 5G standard formulation and technology trial runs while proactively exploring and researching the networking plan for the evolution from 4G,” the company said.

According to China Telecom’s chairman and CEO Yan Jie, the business model for commercial 5G service “will not be like 4G, 3G and 2G, where you have universal, comprehensive, seamless network coverage”. The executive believes that LTE and next-generation technologies will certainly coexist for a long time. He also announced that China Telecom is open to cooperation with market competitors China Mobile and China Unicom on future infrastructure deployments.

China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile telephony operator in terms of subscribers, will wait until 5G technologies and business models are more mature to determine the capex of its future 5G network infrastructure, China Mobile chairman Shang Bing recently said during the telco’s earnings call presentation.

The executive said China Mobile is currently focusing on 5G tests and that is key for the telco to consider the return of investments of its future 5G networks. China Mobile plans to conduct 5G field tests over the next two years, with large-scale pre-commercial trials planned in 2019 and commercial deployments in 2020.

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This past May, China completed planning of a 30-site 5G test field in Huairou district. The trial has been planned by the IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group. Operators participating in the IMT-2020 Promotion Group include China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom and Japanese telecoms operator NTT DoCoMo. Vendors which are part of the initiative include Huawei, ZTE, Ericsson, Nokia, Datang and Samsung. Chipset and test measurement vendors Qualcomm, Intel, Mediatek, Ctec, Keysight Technologies and Rohde & Schwartz are also part of the initiative.

During the pilots, the carriers will construct base stations and carry out application and technological tests. “Once commercial use of 5G becomes a reality, it will lay a network basis for the development of industries, including the Internet of Things, Big Data, artificial intelligence and cloud computing,” said Huang Yuhong, vice director of China Mobile Research Institute.

The increase in speed from 4G to 5G will bring about increases in connectivity to other sectors such as big data, drones and home appliances, according to analysts interviewed by Economic Information Daily.

The communication industry will step into a new development stage after the 5G network is commercialized. As well as the aforementioned sectors, such industries as chips, electronic components and smart hardware will also be upgraded and enjoy huge development potential, the report added.

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This past June, a report from China’s Acadaemy of Information and Communications Technology, as detailed by the South China Morning Post, predicts China’s three carriers–China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom–will spend $411 billion on deploying 5G networks in the decade ending in 2030.

According to reports, the government agency expects peak spending to hit in 2023, as well as that the as-yet un-standardized network standard will have broader implications for the Chinese economy, accounting for 3.2% of GDP in 2025.

Reporting on the key takeaways of the report in Business Insider, Rayna Hollander wrote, “Legacy and emerging mobile services and technologies alike will see more adoption due to 5G speeds…[which]will power nascent tech like augmented and virtual reality (VR), connected homes, M2M communications, and large-scale operations of IoT devices.”

Jefferies analyst Edison Lee told the South China Morning Post, “We believe this paper represents the government’s official position on 5G, and its analysis largely explains why China will aggressively support 5G roll-out.”

Telecom industry watcher Xiang Ligang told the China Daily:

“The report underestimates the impact of 5G on social economy. It isn’t yet more than five years since 4G was launched, but it has had a huge influence in boosting the development and popularization of mobile payments.”

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References:

http://www.atimes.com/article/chinas-advanced-5g-network-set-adoption-2020/

https://www.yicaiglobal.com/news/china%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98big-three%E2%80%99-telecoms-providers-expand-5g-pilots-expect-commercialization-2020

http://en.ce.cn/main/latest/201707/06/t20170706_24050396.shtml

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/china-telecom-to-launch-5g-trial-networks-in-6-cities–1209462

http://www.scmp.com/tech/china-tech/article/2098948/china-plans-28-trillion-yuan-capital-expenditure-create-worlds

Report: China will spend $411 billion on 5G from 2020 to 2030

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