China is serious about 5G, as demonstrated at the recent Mobile World Congress in Shanghai.
If anyone thought China’s enthusiasm in 5G was more hype than reality, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) show in Shanghai would have been a wake-up call. The Shanghai show isn’t as big as its Barcelona sibling, but it’s much more representative of mobile directions in Asia, particularly in China and Korea. Exhibitors were showing user equipment (UEs), connectivity from the big players but also from a lot of emerging small-cell providers, lots of Internet of things (IoT) use-cases, also xR (VR/AR/MR) demonstrating immersive streaming to a group for interactive gaming — all of this 5G-based.
Exhibitors and participants also seemed more mature in their questions and responses — no longer only early enthusiasts, but people who are planning the practicalities of deployment at scale. As well they should. China Mobile, together with Huawei, has already switched on the start of a 5G network and plans to be in 50 cities by the end of this year. It expects to have the beginning of a standalone (SA) 5G infrastructure — distinct from the existing 4G infrastructure — next year, and full SA support by 2025. Across Asia, mobile network operators (MNOs) are expected to invest $370B in 5G between now and 2025.
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