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Ever since the era of 2G, ICT giants worldwide have never hesitated to add more “Gs” to their industrial lexicon, creating new connective solutions and incredible innovations. In this challenging era, China stands out as a global leader in 5G technology, rolling out over 126,000 5G base stations in 2019 to create one of the largest 5G networks in the world.
Known as the fifth-generation of mobile internet connectivity, 5G promises much faster data download and upload speeds, broader coverage and more stable connections. The new technology is not just about speed – its low latency and high accuracy, driverless cars, long-distance surgery, and even the construction of smart cities are fast becoming new realities.
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Though over 40 countries around the world have already tested the new technology or put it in use in some areas, China is by no means the first country to release 5G technology to consumers.
In early June, China granted 5G licenses for commercial use, marking the beginning of a new era in the country’s telecommunications industry.
In November, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, the county’s three major telecom operators, simultaneously launched their monthly 5G plans, deploying 5G stations in 50 cities, with a monthly cost price of $18 to $85 depending on the amount of data and talk time required. The announcement has initiated the construction of the world’s largest 5G network.
Heading to global market
China Mobile has nearly 50,000 5G base stations in use so far. According to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, 5G technology is expected to create more than eight million jobs by 2030.
In addition to exploring domestic markets, China’s telecom giants and smartphone producers have also aimed at the global market, introducing China’s 5G technologies and equipment to the world.
According to Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, the company signed 60 commercial 5G contracts with carriers around the world, beating its main rivals Ericsson and Nokia.
The company’s 5G smartphone has also amazed the world with its high-tech design and foldable screens. Other Chinese smartphone designers, including Huawei’s rival Vivo, also released two 5G models in a month, offering a lower price of 6,000 yuan. At the same time, Beijing-based Xiaomi launched the world’s cheapest 5G mobile phone, at just 3,699 yuan ($520).
Other nations, including the United States and South Korea, have also launched 5G services in selected areas, but it’s hard to compete with China in scale, as China now has more mobile internet users than any other country, with about 850 million using their smartphones to surf the web.
According to CNN, analysts at Jefferies predict that China will have 110 million 5G users, about seven percent of the country’s population by 2020. A Deloitte report also noted that in 2018, China outspent the US by approximately $24 billion in wireless communications infrastructure since 2015.
Despite persuasion from the US, many countries have chosen to cooperate with China in 5G construction. Huawei, under pressure, has already signed 60 5G contracts worldwide.
China has already aimed higher for the future by officially launching research and development work for 6G mobile networks, with the Ministry of Science and Technology announcing in November that it would set up two working groups to carry out the task.