China to push ahead with 5G-A deployments
Updated: June 27, 2024 09:48 China Daily

China will step up efforts to commercialize 5G Advanced, or 5G-A, technologies, which will help accelerate the application of artificial intelligence in more sectors and pave the way for identifying key 6G technologies, officials and company executives said on Wednesday.

The comments came as 2024 marks the commercial launch of 5G-A technology, which is a crucial upgrade to the 5G network in functionality and coverage. For instance, 5G-A features 10-gigabit peak down-link speeds to meet increasingly diverse service requirements.

Zhao Zhiguo, chief engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said at the opening ceremony of the 2024 Mobile World Congress Shanghai that it is highly important to deepen the integration of 5G with new-generation information technologies, especially AI.

He also highlighted the need to leverage 5G to empower emerging industries such as intelligent connected vehicles and the low-altitude economy. The deployment of integrated sensing and passive internet of things technologies is essential for scenarios involving ubiquitous connectivity and high-end manufacturing.

Meanwhile, Zhao also called for more efforts to accelerate the research and development of key 6G technologies, laying a solid foundation for future 6G standards and industry development.

As of end-May, China had made remarkable strides in 5G infrastructure, with a total of 3.837 million 5G base stations, accounting for 60 percent of the global total. These advancements have positioned China as a global leader in 5G technology, with over 50 percent of mobile communication users in the country now utilizing 5G services, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Meanwhile, China has achieved over 94,000 5G application cases in industries such as manufacturing, mining, power, ports and healthcare, the ministry added.

Chen Zhongyue, chairman of China Unicom, emphasized the importance of building a smart computing network, advancing the next-generation integrated intelligent sensing and computing internet, and maximizing computing power value.

Enhancing core capabilities of its self-developed large language model, roughly translated as Yuanjing, is also a key objective, Chen said.

The company has developed 30 industry-specific Yuanjing models with professional skills, he added.

These models have significantly benefited urban governance, economic operations, information consumption and industrial manufacturing. For example, the Yuanjing clothing model can reduce design time from three days to three seconds, he said.

"We aim to introduce AI tools that are both technologically advanced and user-friendly, providing intelligent services that resonate with human values," Chen said.

Yang Jie, chairman of China Mobile, underscored AI's potential to become a new information service gateway and said the company plans to integrate expertise from various fields to launch AI intelligent systems in healthcare, education and entertainment.

Moreover, the company is set to develop AI solutions for key industries like manufacturing, energy and transportation, fostering intelligent and green industrial advancements, Yang said.

Collaborating with industry partners, China Mobile aims to accelerate the development of humanoid robots and brain-computer interfaces, enhancing the future needs of the economy and society, he added.

Wang Tao, executive director of Huawei Technologies Co, said over 60 telecom operators and partners globally have announced the arrival of the 5G-A commercial year, with over 30 devices supporting 5G-A set to launch this year, marking a significant milestone in the digital era.

Wang emphasized that 5G-A is a definitive industry path that protects existing investments while creating new business opportunities. He called for continuous enhancement of 5G-A technology to sustain the health and vitality of the 5G industry, realizing the vision of 5G transforming society.

As 5G-A accelerates its commercial deployment, AI brings new opportunities for the telecommunications industry. Wang said that"2024 marks the convergence of the 5G-A commercial year and the AI-to-device year, heralding the mobile AI era where intelligent services become ubiquitous."

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