Re­search and de­vel­op­ment in 5G will be a game changer for Chi­nese tele­coms

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By MA SI masi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

FIVE YEARS ON

RE­FORM Mo­bile chips

In the run-up to the 19th CPC Na­tional Con­gress, China Daily is re­port­ing on a num­ber of key projects of na­tional im­por­tance that will show­case the coun­try’s im­prove­ments in cru­cial fields. Th­ese in­clude re­cent re­forms aimed at im­prov­ing liv­ing stan­dards and cre­at­ing a pros­per­ous so­ci­ety by 2020. To­day’s re­port fo­cuses on China’s boom­ing tele­com sec­tor.

Smart­phones

Net­work for pub­lic use

Tele­com com­pa­nies are ratch­et­ing up their 5G re­search and de­vel­op­ment spend­ing as China scram­bles to com­mer­cial­ize high-speed ser­vices.

China’s mo­bile car­ri­ers are likely to in­vest at least $173 bil­lion into 5G con­struc­tion from 2019 to 2025 in a move to de­liver su­per-fast ser­vices, in­vest­ment bank Jef­feries has pre­dicted.

“Compared to the amount be­ing spent on 4G be­tween 2013 to 2020, that will be an in­crease of 48 per­cent,” the New York-based com­mer­cial lender stated.

ZTE Corp, the coun­try’s sec­ond largest tele­com equip­ment maker, will in­vest 2 bil­lion yuan ($294.8 mil­lion) in 5G R&D this year, up from 1 bil­lion yuan in 2016.

A large chunk will go into in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion.

“The cash will be spent on a wide range of fields such as de­vices, chips and, of course, in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion,” said Cui Li, vice-pres­i­dent of ZTE’s wire­less prod­uct op­er­a­tions di­vi­sion.

Al­ready 5G tech­nol­ogy is ea­gerly awaited. It will of­fer su­per fast in­ter­net speed such as down­load­ing an 8-gi­ga­bit movie in sec­onds.

It will also help make au­tonomous driv­ing a re­al­ity as it rip­ples across most in­dus­tries and sec­tors in a new in­ter­net revo­lu­tion.

Even though in­ter­na­tional 5G stan­dards have yet to be rolled out, Chi­nese com­pa­nies are boost­ing R&D in­vest­ment to es­tab­lish a beach­head for this new era.

To il­lus­trate how im­por­tant it is, 5G was part of China’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20).

A re­port by Bei­jing’s China Academy of In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nol­ogy pre­dicted that next-gen­er­a­tion su­per fast in­ter­net will drive 6.3 tril­lion yuan of eco­nomic out­put in the coun­try by 2030.

The stakes and re­wards are so high that China Mo­bile Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Corp aims to de­ploy more than 10,000 5G “base sta­tions” by 2020.

Last month, it es­tab­lished the coun­try’s first 5G “base sta­tion” in Guangzhou, Guang­dong province be­fore car­ry­ing out high-speed out­field tests.

“The tele­com in­dus­try will need to be deeply linked with other sec­tors when it comes to 5G,” said Huang Yuhong, deputy head of the China Mo­bile Re­search In­sti­tute.

“That is a fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ence be­tween 5G and 4G,” Huang added.

Last year, China Mo­bile edged ahead of ri­vals to de­ter­mine the “struc­ture of 5G net­works”.

China United Net­work Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Group Co Ltd plans to catch up fast after it fell be­hind China Mo­bile in the con­struc­tion of 4G sys­tem.

This time, it is de­ter­mined not to re­peat that mis­take.

In­deed, China Uni­com’s

Sys­tem equip­ments

Mo­bile ter­mi­nals

Chips used in mo­bile ter­mi­nals

plans are un­der­way to start tech­nol­ogy tests in four to six cities in the next 18 months. Field tests will be­gin be­tween 2018 and 2019.

“China has al­ready made sig­nif­i­cant progress in the re­search and de­vel­op­ment of 5G, and more ef­forts will be made to en­sure Chi­nese com­pa­nies are at the fore­front,” Chen Zhaox­iong, vice-min­is­ter of the in­dus­try and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, said at a fo­rum last month.

In June, the min­istry un­veiled a draft pro­posal that low-fre­quency bands — the 3,300 to 3,600 MHz spec­trum and the 4,800 to 5,000 MHz spec­trum — will be used for 5G net­works in China.

Xiang Li­gang, a tele­com ex­pert and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of tele­com in­dus­try web­site cc­time.com, stressed that the “fre­quency band” was as im­por­tant to tele­com car­ri­ers as land was to the real es­tate sec­tor.

“Spec­i­fy­ing the ini­tial fre­quency band for 5G tests will mo­ti­vate en­ter­prises to chan­nel re­sources into it, and this will pro­mote faster de­vel­op­ment,” Xiang said.

LONG WEI / FOR CHINA DAILY

China Mo­bile launches a UAV-as­sisted emer­gency com­mu­ni­ca­tion high al­ti­tude base sta­tion dur­ing a re­cent mo­bile tech­nol­ogy ex­hi­bi­tion in Shang­hai.

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