5G is Real and Currently in Use… in China!

13/03/2019

The test period for 5G technology is almost over in China. The wireless revolution is going to be launched in the Dragon just this year, starting from the Shanghai’s Hongqiao railway station, the first terminal in the world to offer 5G mobile network coverage

 

In few months the much-debated 5G will actually come into effect in one of the most crowded places in China, the Hongqiao railway station. By September 2019, in fact, the Western suburbs’ terminal of Shanghai will become the first station in the world to offer super-fast 5G network coverage. A first step in the Internet of Things (IoT) world towards a wholly “Networked Society”.

2020 will be the year of the wireless revolution because by this date the 5G will debut officially allowing the connection of both mobile and objects at high speed, all supported by a very high-band available with very low latency.

 

But what is 5G, how does it work and how will it change the world as we know it? As for the other standards – currently used standards today are 2G, 3G, and 4G – 5G simply means “5th Generation”.

 

However, while 1G let people walk and talk, 2G let users send texts, 3G got onto the internet, and 4G brought the streaming, 5G promises a whole range of daily life’s improvements. Belonging to a brand-new generation it will not only work differently from previous networks but it will also connect many objects, which were not thought to be connected until today, making them respond to human actions.

 

5G is real and currently in use - shanghai - hongqiao - cifnews

© Wikimedia Commons. Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station. As one of the most crowded in the PRC, Hongqiao railway station will become the world’s first terminal to offer 5G coverage.

 

Therefore, it is not just a matter of fast internet browsing but 5G will rather satisfy new and more complex usage scenario. But above all, the 5G will build a completely different environment made of automated guided vehicles (AGV), digitalized road infrastructures, smart homes in smart cities, IoT and of all those new technologies only possible through a constant high-band coverage.

If the world we live in now seems to be heavily influenced by the use of the internet, the world of tomorrow will be enveloped in a technology that is mostly invisible but pervasive in all our activities. And in this race to the digital revolution, China is the country that runs faster. Of the world’s one billion 5G users expected by 2023, more than 50% of all the 5G connections are estimated to be located in China.

Today, in the Middle Kingdom, the three major mobile operators – China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom – have already deployed large-scale 5G test networks in various cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. Even the newly constructed 34-mile long Hong Kong-Macao bridge is going to host 5G network thanks to the Chinese telecommunication equipment company Zte soon.

 

According to Chinese technological development program, the whole national 5G mobile network coverage is planned to be reached by 2023.

 

Among the larger mobile operators in the Dragon, China Unicom will be one of the front runners of 5G being the world’s fourth-largest mobile service provider. It already deployed many test projects in the country and launched some 5G base stations in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, realizing the full coverage of the square’s 5G signal early this year and, thus, launching the first “smart square”.

Nevertheless, the world’s biggest mobile phone operator is China Mobile, whose figure of users reaches almost one billion subscribers. It is also the company behind Shanghai’s Hongqiao train station 5G coverage.

Since 2015, China Mobile is researching this new technology launching the first projects in Guangdong and Beijing in 2017. After the Hongqiao station, China Mobile’s plan is to build over 10,000 5G base stations by 2020 together with the launch of branded 5G devices later this year.

 

5G is real and currently in use - xiaomi - mi9 - cifnews

© Xiaomitoday.com. The Chinese brand Xiaomi launched its flagship smartphone Mi9 in February, the first consumer smartphone capable of using 5G networks.

 

However, all these projects are not launched now for no reason. Tests and base stations come along with a structured plan of development that articulates through many steps. It all started in 2013 when the Made in China 2025 plan was announced.

Already in 2013, the Chinese government recognized the value of 5G to reach the long-awaited worldwide recognition and the hi-tech supremacy. However, it was the 13th Five-Year Plan launched in 2016 that proposed for the first time that China should promote and develop 5G technology in order to launch it before the end of the plan in 2020.

Then, since 2014, two national programs – the National 863 Program and the National Science and Technology Major Project – helped to verify and improve 5G technical schemes supporting the global standardization.

 

Three phases of tests have been conducted in the country until the end of 2018 and Beijing is now ready to officially launch 5G coverage in large cities and then expand the networks throughout the country.

 

Just think about Chengdu pilot tests that allowed the first community of residents to use 5G technology or the 5G autopilot bus trials in Chongqing, which marked the city’s first driverless bus trial in a 5G network environment. All these tests led to the official launch of Hongqiao railway station 5G coverage.

Moreover, to get to the full commercialization of 5G by 2020, both the government and Chinese telecom equipment manufacturers invested heavily in the research. And investments will continue to grow during the upcoming years. Indeed, China’s expense in 5G is expected to reach $223 billion between 2019 and 2025.

In addition, some events and constructions will be taken as test occasion and as the showcase of Chinese developed technology such as the 2019 Beijing World Horticultural Expo, the building of Beijing’s new airport and the worldwide-important 2022 Winter Olympics. Beijing communication operators, in fact, will spend over $4.4 billion to build a 5G network in the city before the start of the Olympics.

 

5G is real and currently in use - china - timetable - cifnews

© 2018 EYGM Limited. China is poised to win the 5G race. A timetable for China’s 5G development.

 

However, why it is so important for China to win this race? The answer is that the Chinese lead in 5G technology will increase its global influence but not only. It will also enhance its bargaining power with foreign countries.

Therefore, 5G development not only will bring technological improvements but it will also build a business model that will stimulate the Chinese economy such as the large-scale job creation and the attractiveness for foreign investments.

 

According to a study from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, the 5G market will account for $166 billion in 2025, it means 3.2% of China’s entire GDP generating over 8 million jobs by 2030.

 

5G is conceived as a silent revolution that will change everything in people’s lives, a new global system that will go to connect every home and every street, every device and every action of everyday life. But for the PRC, instead, it represents the first chance to lead wireless technology development on a global scale.

 

5G is real and currently in use - beijing - cifnews

© Unsplash. Beijing. China will become the largest 5G market by 2025 leading wireless technology development on a global scale.

 

Although European countries were the first to use 2G technology, Japan led the 3G and the United States dominated the launch of 4G, now it is China’s time to take the lead of the global innovation rather than trying to reach other countries’ progress.

China is pulling ahead of the US in the race to build infrastructure for 5G wireless. Beijing is actually outpacing the overseas counterpart in terms of wireless communication infrastructure spending, tower density and efficiency of execution.

The Middle Kingdom certainly has few extra points compared to other nations such as widespread fiber availability, 4G maturity, and first of all, a supportive government. All these factors led China to be the ideal testbed for 5G revolution.

Plus, the early start of 5G research and development and China’s dimension will surely make the country the largest 5G market by 2025. Actually, the number of Chinese 5G users is expected to reach 576 million, representing about 40% of the entire population.

 

In the latest years, the People’s Republic boasted many hi-tech innovations, which are already used in many fields.

 

Artificial intelligence, AGV, big data, and robotics are just some of the sectors China is investing on as part of its national plan. All of these new technologies are employed in smart cities that are emerging all over China.

Now, with the advent of 5G technology, further trends and industries will emerge especially for what concerns smart electronics, transportation, and services, which will all drive China’s future economy and also drastically improve people’s lives.

But the Dragon will not stop here. Beijing is already looking at 6G. According to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, even before 5G is officially commercialized, 6G research already started in March 2018. However, it seems 6G is not going to be launched before 2030. Even if it is hard to imagine a different world after Chinese 5G has changed it all.

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