China's massive 5G rollout begins in 2019

By Zhang Dan Source:Global Times Published: 2019/1/9 19:43:40

Blocking Chinese firms will lead to higher costs

A booth of Huawei's 5G device at an event in Shanghai. File photo: VCG

Despite some Western countries' rising scrutiny of China's 5G telecoms systems, China is forging ahead in its 5G commercial deployment and will launch 5G data terminals and smartphones during the first half of this year, an industry report showed. 

Commercial 5G products and pre-commercial 5G internet service will appear this year to support applications such as networked cars and the industrial internet, said a report released by the Internet Society of China (ISC) on Tuesday. 

The steady growth momentum shows that US-led attempts to contain China's technology rise won't and can't stop the nation's 5G development, Xiang Ligang, chief executive of telecom industry news site, told the Global Times. 

"Even if some foreign politicians and intelligence agencies stand in the way of China's 5G network promotion overseas, the ones who will pay an extra 30 percent in costs are those countries' telecom operators. Hence, they may re-consider importing Chinese 5G technology in the near future," Xiang added.

"If the US bans China's 5G businesses, it will only hinder its own 5G development," said Fu Liang, a Beijing-based telecom industry expert.

The ISC report also forecast that the number of Chinese 5G base stations will reach at least 10,000 by 2020 -- but industry analysts said that number seems too small. Both Xiang and Fu forecast that more than 10,000 5G base stations would be deployed in China by the end of this year. 

Last year was a critical testing period for 5G technology in China. Three domestic telecommunications operators - China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom - carried out large-scale testing and pre-commercial deployment in more than 10 designated pilot cities.

All three have designated 5G network rollout as a priority for 2019. For example, China Unicom has announced plans to invest 21 billion yuan ($3.08 billion) in 5G rollout by 2020, according to media reports. 

China's next-step 5G strategy will also empower the Internet of Things. Taking networked driverless technology as an example, 5G technology will help ease traffic congestion, allow for real-time scheduling and support emergency warnings, said the report. 

In addition to 5G development, Chinese engineers and policymakers are already working on a 6G push, Hong Kong-based Asia Times has reported.
Newspaper headline: Massive 5G rollout begins in 2019


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