China to test 5G in cities in 2018

China is set to conduct tests of fifth generation mobile networks, or 5G, in selected cities, as the country races to the finishing line for adoption of the ultra-high-speed wireless system that is set to be the next big thing to drive Internet and beyond.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) recently released a note asking industry research institutions and companies to start the third stage of 5G research and development (R&D) and relevant tests, the ministry said on Thursday.

“To promote the innovative development of 5G, improve the level of technological research and development and speed up the maturity of the industry… the third phase of 5G technology research and development and testing has started,” said the note, which was published on the MIIT’s website.

The third phase will focus on tests of connections among various forms of infrastructure and devices to “fully push ahead key aspects of the industry chain to basically reach a level of commercial use,” the note continued, adding that third-phase tests should be completed by the end of 2018.

“What that tells us is that 5G technology is ready for real life tests and we are at the final stage before the actual launch of 5G,” Xiang Ligang, chief executive of domestic telecom industry portal, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Xiang said the first phase of 5G focused on indoor tests, the second phase focused on outdoor simulated tests, and the third phase will involve tests in real life.

“So what will happen is that companies and research institutions will pick certain areas in 20 or 30 cities across the country to conduct tests on the 5G network,” he said. “It will be a huge-scale and much broader test of the network’s stability and quality.”

Final stage

Wang Yanhui, head of the Shanghai-based Mobile China Alliance, also said that China has been pushing hard in terms of 5G development.

“I think it’s pretty clear that China is fully prepared to be first across the finish line,” Wang told the Global Times on Sunday, adding that China’s aim to fully commercialize 5G technology by 2020 is on track, despite the extremely complex nature of the new generation networks.

“Unlike 4G or previous generations of wireless connection, 5G is not just about faster speed. It’s also about the Internet of Things and autonomous driving,” Wang said.

It is a much broader concept that will impact areas beyond mobile wireless connection and the Internet and affect many other industries, according to Wang.

Experts said that Chinese telecommunication companies such as Huawei Technologies Co and ZTE Corp are the main drivers of China’s 5G technology push.

“I think technology-wise, Huawei and ZTE have made great progress and are ready to conduct real life tests. They just need the government to coordinate various aspects of the test,” Xiang said.

Huawei and ZTE have been conducting tests and establishing infrastructure both domestically and abroad.

Huawei announced on Thursday that – along with the research arm of Chinese telecom provider China Mobile – it had completed a test run on the world’s first 5G customer premises equipment using the 3.5GHz bandwidth, which reached a speed of above 1.3Gbps, according to a press release.

ZTE and US-based Qualcomm Technologies Inc announced in a joint statement on November 17 that they had successfully achieved the world’s first end-to-end 5G New Radio (NR) Interoperability Data Testing (IoDT) system.

“The successful interoperable connection of the end-to-end 5G NR IoDT system serves as a significant industry milestone toward pre-commercialization of 5G NR technologies at scale,” the statement said.

Xiang said that all of these developments are what led the MIIT to call for the third phase of 5G development. “I think we are ready for real life 5G tests,” he said.

Source: Global Times

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