China releases 5G business licenses to major carriers on Thursday

By Chen Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/5 22:32:19 Last Updated: 2019/6/6 10:27:42

China's telecoms industry regulator officially released the first four 5G business licenses to China Mobile, China Union, China Telecom and China Broadcast Network on Thursday, according to CCTV, helping the country get into a fast lane in commercializing the next generation of wireless technologies. 

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued 5G licenses to carriers Thursday morning, a move signaling the official entry of the second-largest economy in the 5G era and unleashing new value worth 900-1,300 billion yuan ($130-188 billion).

With the distribution of 5G licenses, China will build 5G networks with more than 3 million 5G base stations in three years, Xiang Ligang, a veteran industry insider, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

In five years, China will build up 6 million base stations, accounting for nearly half of 5G bases worldwide, and these three networks are the largest in terms of scale in the world, he noted. 

The domestic telecoms industry has shown excitement over the rollout of 5G networks, which will help usher in a myriad of 5G applications, a new business model, while upgrading traditional industrial lines. 

"The release of 5G licenses shows that China has met all the requirements for 5G networks, from technologies to equipment to operations," Li Zhen, an industry expert at Beijing-based CCID Consulting, told the Global Times in an earlier interview. 

China, along with South Korea and the US, are widely considered the leaders in the 5G era, as they have been the largest contributors to technology development and standard-setting. 

Initially, 5G networks will cover major populated areas, which will also be compatible with 4G networks, and the 5G networks are expected to achieve full coverage from 2020 to 2025, Li said. 

China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom are expected to obtain the 5G licenses at the same time, analysts said. 

Huawei also said on Thursday that the company is prepared to fully support the building of commercial 5G networks by the carriers.

Since April in 2018, Huawei has launched trial tests in more than 40 cities in China, including indoor and outdoor scenarios, all achieving commercial standards.

ZTE also noted that with 5G as the core strategy of the company's development, the company has been proactively participating in the commercial deployment and construction of 5G networks in China, and will work closely with industry partners to actively promote the application of 5G services.

The US-led global campaign to ban Huawei from the development of 5G networks has not hindered China's continuous steps forward in 5G deployment, and major Chinese companies are also helping other countries, like the UK and South Korea, launch their first commercial networks. 

"The official launch will be thrilling, as it's also an opportunity to show that Chinese firms have overcome obstacles and become more competitive in the 5G race," Xiang said. 

The full-scale acceleration of 5G use will also lead the country to 5G gadgets like 5G smartphones. 

China's smartphone business will see a rebound in 2020 thanks to the 5G era, he noted. 

Posted in: COMPANIES

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