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Nation takes the lead in 5G technology

Updated: Mar 19,2020 07:01    Xinhua

China has cemented its position as a global leader in fifth-generation wireless technology, with the nation expected to account for 70 percent of global 5G connections in 2020, according to an international association of mobile operators.

Despite the short-term headwinds from the novel coronavirus outbreak, China's telecom operators, industrial enterprises and consumers remain enthusiastic about the superfast technology, said the Global System for Mobile Communications Association.

In its latest report, the association forecast that Chinese operators are expected to invest more than $180 billion between 2020 and 2025 in mobile networks, around 90 percent of which will be on 5G networks.

Driven by significant operator investment and growing enthusiasm among consumers and enterprises, 5G will account for almost half of China's mobile connections by 2025, representing a similar adoption rate as other leading 5G markets such as Japan, South Korea and the United States, the report predicted.

Si Han, the association's chief in China, said the nation "is leading early adoption in 5G and has already built more than 160,000 5G base stations covering more than 50 cities as operators aim to expand standalone 5G network coverage and capacity.

"Unlocking the benefits of these next-generation networks, flexible policies, including for spectrum and infrastructure, are strategically important to support China's ongoing transformation into a fully fledged digital economy," she added.

"The nation's big three mobile carriers, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, kicked off the commercialization of 5G last year, and they are diversifying their offerings for both consumers and corporate customers.

In 2020, the three carriers will build a total of 550,000 5G base stations nationwide, which will achieve continuous outdoor connections in prefecture-level cities across China, and cover the key areas in counties and townships, said Wang Zhiqin, deputy head of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a government think tank.

This year, we will see large-scale construction of 5G networks, a kaleidoscope of industrial applications emerging and 5G smartphones rapidly becoming popular in China," Wang added.

Currently, 5G is playing an active role in the efforts to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak. The wireless technology has ensured quality and stable mobile services for hospitals, emergency command centers, railway stations and bus terminals.

It is also the foundation for robots, remote work, online education, big data analysis and artificial intelligence-enabled body-temperature measurement, as companies and people work hard to contain the epidemic while also resuming work.

Wang Xiaochu, chairman of China Unicom, said the company is scrambling to accelerate 5G rollout. It has taken a string of measures to resume construction of 5G base stations.

"We will work hard to enrich the application scenarios of 5G, and step up push to explore business models of the new technology," Wang added.

GSMA said 4G is by far the dominant mobile technology across China, accounting for more than 80 percent of total connections. However, 4G's share will peak in 2020 at 82 percent as 5G grows significantly.