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Increased effort urged to integrate 5G with more sectors

By Ma Si | China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-21 06:55

Visitors interact with a 5G enabled robot during a tech expo in Beijing on Nov 20, 2019. [Photo/China Daily by Zhu Xingxin]

Telecom leaders are calling for more efforts to promote cross-sector cooperation and better integrate 5G into a wide range of industries, in order to fully tap into the potential of the new-generation superfast wireless technology.

The comments came as a new study predicted that China will have the most 5G connections of any nation by 2025, having the highest 5G penetration by that year.

Yang Zhiqiang, vice-president of China Mobile's research institute, said 5G is not a faster 4G, and it is not a simple technology or a system.

"It is a platform that can empower traditional industries to re-innovate themselves and give them new vitality to grow. As a result, cross-sector cooperation is vital to ensuring the success of 5G," Yang said.

According to him, cloud gaming, industrial internet and smart automobiles are some of the most promising commercial 5G cases. "Now, at least 16 national pilot zones for smart connected vehicles have appeared across China, signifying the mounting industrial enthusiasm toward it," Yang added.

China kicked off the commercialization of 5G services on Oct 31, with China Mobile and two of its smaller rivals rolling out their 5G data plans. In just 10 days since then, Beijing has accumulated more than 40,000 5G subscribers.

In October, China shipped 2.49 million 5G smartphones, marking a 400 percent surge compared with the previous month, according to a report by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.

On top of consumers' growing eagerness to embrace 5G, companies from healthcare, agriculture, transportation, energy and other sectors also have high expectations. In March, for instance, a patient with Parkinson's disease underwent China's, and possibly the world's, first 5G-based remote surgery on a human brain, with technological support from China Mobile and Huawei Technologies Co.

Yang Tao, vice-president of Huawei's China carrier business group, said in one to three years, 5G will bring concrete commercial value to the media, education, logistics and energy sectors.

But it will take three to five years to make smart manufacturing and smart healthcare viable business cases, Yang said.

A study from global telecom industry association GSMA forecast that China will have 600 million 5G connections by 2025, compared with 209 million in Europe, 188 million in the United States, 98 million in Japan, and 41 million in South Korea.

Frank Meng, chairman of Qualcomm China, said the US chip giant is pleased to join hands with industry partners to accelerate the 5G era in China.

The emergence of Chinese companies in the 5G era have drawn global attention and they will greatly accelerate and change the global landscape of 5G, Meng said.

China had contributed 34 percent of patents essential to 5G standards in the world by March, according to German patent data company IPlytics.

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