(Yicai Global) June 29 -- Although China has been a follower in the mobile telecommunications industry, it is poised to become a leader in the 5G era. Chinese operators have scheduled 5G service rollouts, per information released at the 2017 Mobile World Congress (MWC).
"As for 5G, I think [China] will be the frontrunner," ZTE Corp. [SHE:000063] Chief Scientist Xiang Jiying told Yicai Global during a break at the 2017 MWC.
"We think we found a critical path from 4G to 5G," Xiang said. In the 4G era, Chinese firms and foreign equipment manufacturers started off neck and neck, but for 5G, China will be the leader, he said. Chinese groups' network construction ideas have contributed to the maturity of the industrial chain, said Xiang.
China Mobile Ltd. [HKG:0941] will conduct 5G field tests in five cities this year, Shang Bing, the group's executive director and chairman, said in a keynote speech yesterday.
China Mobile recently opened the first 5G pre-commercial testing base station in Guangzhou, marking 5G's official start in the country.
"The released 5G prototype is not a product from the laboratory, and is close to the final commercial form of the product," Xiang said. China's timetable for commercializing 5G will be one to two years shorter than that of 4G, he said.
China will begin building its 5G network in 2019, and make commercial services available in 2020 or later, per the three major Chinese telecom companies' business plans.
"5G creates opportunities for cross-industry cooperation," said Fu Liang, a telecoms expert. "Compared with European and American manufacturers, Chinese operators face fewer obstacles in promoting 5G, and the communication equipment manufacturers and members of the industrial chain are enthusiastically accelerating the commercialization of 5G in China."