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China Closer to 5G Commercial Launch

Elena Neira
April24/ 2017

China has been playing a critical role in 5G. Its tech and government sectors have been following and leading in some cases worldwide research and industry activities. 5G Magazine has being tracking the major 5G developments out of China including the role of IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group, AI and cloud transformational forces from inside the country and the economic resources allocated to 5G such as the $73 billion budget to build a nation-wide network by 2020 [Note: The quality of this coverage has been recognized with a citation in Wikipedia’s 5G Page.]

Continuing the reporting of 5G in China, this issue of 5G  Magazine (*) is a China 5G Market Report with the latest updates from right after passing the mid-point of 5G R&D development – marked by the completion of the Phase-1 testing – to the beginning of Phase-2 testing involving product R&D trials. These updates reveal that China’s 5G roadmap to commercial launch continues according to plan. Before we dive into the updates themselves, let’s cover how the roadmap took shape and the milestones that have been meet.


IMT-2020 (5G) PG Technology R&D and System Trial Plans [Image Source: chinaeu.eu]

Made in China 2025 and IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group:   China’s 5G roadmap is guided from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). It was articulated in the Made in China 2025 plan which describes, among others, the strategic goal of China to become a leader in 5G, including in standards, by 2020.

The management of this strategic goal has been done by the Ministry’s IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group. The group was founded in February 2013, and since then it has been the major platform to promote 5G research in China. The organization counts with 56 members including large operators, OEMs, universities and research institutes around China. We dedicated the article “China Moves a Step Closer to 5G” to look at the organization and 5G alternatives.

The group has been growing in influence and it has added international cooperation and affiliates. As result of these international efforts Japan’s DoCoMo joined the IMT-2020(5G) PG trials and a cooperation with Taiwan’s chipset industry is also way underway


The 5G Global Standard:   4Q 2016 was a turning point for China and its 5G ambitions. First Huawei reported that its Polar Codes Trial Meet 5G Requirements along these three dimensions:

  1. Ultra broadband speeds of up to 20 Gbps;
  2. Low latency performance of below 1 millisecond; and
  3. Billions of connections as described by ITU.

And shortly after the report of these test results, polar codes were added to the enhanced Mobile BroadBand (eMBB) specs in Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). This was regarded in China as proof of their leadership role defining and developing the 5G global standard part of the 5G roadmap to commercial deployment.


AI, Cloud Are Transformational Forces:   The broader 5G roadmap in China reaches beyond the traditional “building blocks” telco for innovation. Software technologies, in particular cloud and AI, are being looked at as disruptive technologies to incorporate to the 5G roadmap. Major examples are China Mobile’s “More Than Connecting” 2020+ Vision and e-commerce giant Alibaba’s announcement of their global intelligent cloud.


A $73 Billion Built-Out Budget:  It was also in 4Q 2016 when a 5G network built-out plan with a $73 billion budget was confirmed with the aim at realizing 5G commercial service as early as 2020. This network will have the backing of its regulatory body as well as the backing of business plans at several local and global companies. IMT-2020 (5G) group said that the construction of this 5G network in China will begin in 2019.


In this issue of the 5G Magazine (*):   We continue covering 5G in China with a market report update with the ongoing trials to define product architecture and hardware proof of concept including 5G NR.


(*)   5G MAGAZINE is available to subscribers only. For delivery contact us at info@5g-magazine.com.


5G MAGAZINE, IssueNo6 – COPYRIGHT © 2017 5G-MAGAZINE.COM – ISSN 2473-9480

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Elena Neira