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China Mobile eyes 2020 start for 5G

By Ma Si | China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-14 07:40

China Mobile Communications Corp, the world's largest telecom carrier with 845 million mobile subscribers, is getting an early start to prepare for 5G networks.

The Beijing-based firm will select four to five cities in 2017 to build pre-commercial prototypes to verify and develop 5G systems. It is stepping up efforts to reach the goal of commercializing 5G services in 2020.

"China Mobile is an enterprising student. In addition to conducting 5G technology tests, we are preparing in advance for 5G commercial products," said Huang Yuhong, deputy head of the China Mobile Research Institute.

Huang made the comments at a conference held by the IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group, a body set up by China to guide 5G development. The organization announced technical specifications for the second phase of 5G R&D tests in late November, after the first phase was concluded in September.

The second phase will test technology solutions for the 5G mobile internet and the internet of things. The tests will be conducted on a unified platform, with unified frequencies. The aim is to develop 5G pre-commercial prototypes, the IMT-2020(5G) Promotion Group said in a statement.

"5G will no longer be a simple technology or a system. Instead, it is a platform in which the telecom industry needs to be deeply linked with other sectors. That is a fundamental difference between 5G and 4G," Huang said.

She said that the growing demand for superfast internet speeds will motivate the evolution of 5G and it is of utmost importance to start cross-sector cooperation at an early stage.

The firm set up a 5G joint innovation center in February, which so far has attracted 42 firms as partners. These include not only telecom equipment makers and chip firms, but also automobile manufacturers including Audi AG and BYD Co Ltd and home appliance giants Haier Group and Hisense Group, as well as five startups.

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