China aims to head start in the race to lead the next generation of cellular phone systems. With the highest number of telecom subscribers, China had 1.3 billion users at the end of 2015, with power to “make or break” a new global 5G standard Bernstein’s senior analyst Chris Lane said.
China is testing 5G telecommunications equipment in about 100 cities, technologies being tested include massive multiple-antenna systems capable of handling more users and increased capacity to support greater mobile data usage. Hong-Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted Bernstein Research report as saying. Even as more users around the world make the shift to 4G, telecommunication companies and organisations are already focusing on the next wireless mobile network – 5G, which is slated for a 2020 roll-out.
The International Telecommunications Union, part of the United Nations, expects network deployments to begin in 2020 soon after the standards are set for 5G, technically known as IMT-2020. The consensus among global telecoms industry leaders is that a single standard—a unified set of industry benchmarks—would be enormously beneficial. “The cost of having different standards is high for the industry,” said Wang Zhiqin, director of the Institute of Communications Standards Research at the China Academy of Information & Communications Technology said during the InnoTech Expo in Hong Kong.
5G stands for 5th generation mobile networks and represents the upcoming mobile telecommunications standards beyond today’s 4G networks. 5G technology is expected to have massive capacity, allowing an increase in the number of simultaneous connections with extremely little lags and significantly improved network speeds.
High-speed 5G networks can achieve theoretical speeds at up to 20 gigabits per second, much faster than the current fourth-generation speed of 1 Gbps. Latency, or the time required for a request for data to receive a reply when clicking an app, is envisioned to be one millisecond or less on 5G, compared with 10 millisecond on 4G.
David Dai Shu, spokesman for ZTE, state-run China Mobile smartphone manufacturers is the largest in the world in terms of subscribers and revenue alone was planning “pre-5G trials in more than 100 cities across more than 20 provinces.”
The other two government-owned firms, China Unicom and state-run China Telecom may also be undertaking some preparation, Dai said, adding that Unicom had signed a cooperation agreement with ZTE in August related to 5G research.
China, Japan,and South Korea are at the forefront of developing 5G mobile technology, according to mobile body GSMA. These countries already have a high level of 4G adoption and government support in developing 5G, putting it ahead of North America and Europe.