China will start the third phase of 5G technical tests next year, as it aims to get pre-commercial 5G products ready when standards on the next-generation communication technology are expected to come out in June 2018.
Wen Ku, director of the telecom development department at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said at a news conference on Oct 27 that “the third phase of technical tests is to ensure that companies are capable of making pre-commercial 5G products.”
According to him, more efforts will be made to accelerate tests on network planning, systems, chips and other products of the industrial chain, which will help lay down a sound foundation for the fast development of a 5G network in China.
The move is part of the country’s broad push to gain a lead in the race toward commercializing 5G, a communication technology which is expected to revolutionize the world.
It will allow consumers to download an 8-gigabit movie in seconds and execute tasks that are thrilling but impossible in the 4G era, such as self-driving cars.
“We aim to closely follow the global community’s schedule on 5G standards. As soon as a standard is finalized, we will optimize equipment and modify our tests in accordance with it,” Wen said.
“The goal is to launch pre-commercial 5G products as soon as the first version of standards comes out,” he added.
Currently, the country is pushing forward the second phase of 5G tests. Domestic and foreign telecom firms are playing an active role in the process, with contributions from Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, ZTE Corp, Ericsson AB and Nokia Corp.
In September, the second phase of tests on the 5G network’s wireless part was finished. Telecom companies have met the key performance requirements set up by the International Telecommunication Union, such as the peak rates of internet speed, Wen said.
Chinese firms are working hard to put 5G into trial operation in 2018. A report by Beijing’s China Academy of Information and Communication Technology predicted that the next-generation superfast internet will drive 6.3 trillion yuan ($946.8 billion) of economic output in the country by 2030.
The stakes and rewards are so high that China Mobile Communications Corp aims to deploy more than 10,000 5G “base stations” by 2020.