(Yicai Global) June 4 -- China's big three telecoms operators plan to invest CNY200 billion (USD31 billion) over the next four years to build world-leading data infrastructure and develop the nation's biggest 5G network around the Yangtze River Delta.
China Telecom, China United Network Communications (China Unicom) and China Mobile Communications have penned an agreement with wireless infrastructure operator China Tower, state-owned news site The Paper reported. The firms will develop networks in Shanghai municipality and the provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui, all in eastern China, and plan for the region to become one of the first commercial 5G areas in the country around 2020.
The three carriers have been pressing ahead with the express networks, which are dozens of times faster than existing 4G technology, since getting the green light to conduct trials in Beijing and other cities last month. China hopes to commercialize such networks in the second half of next year, allowing smartphone users to download high-definition movies in a matter of seconds and boosting development prospects in smart transport, energy, education and other sectors.
On top of the new communications infrastructure, the firms will also build a 5G-based Internet of Things platform in the area, focused on regional management and social governance. They will also offer artificial intelligence and algorithm-based IOT services as they look to explore building an extended smart-city platform to cover the entire region.
Several Chinese firms have been looking to develop 'city brains,' or smart city platforms to optimize traffic systems and otherwise aid urban management. Alibaba Group Holding and Baidu, two of the country's leading tech firms, are among those devising such systems.
The idea of smart cities is becoming ever popular across the world, although different sources view the concept in differing ways. American networking giant Cisco Systems Inc. defines a smart city as one which adopts "scalable solutions that take advantage of information and communications technology to increase efficiencies, reduce costs, and enhance quality of life."
Editor: James Boynton