Since the official launch of 5G in 2019, China has come a long way in 5G innovations and deployment. Undaunted by the difficulties brought by the pandemic, Chinese operators continued their network investments to achieve over 400 million 5G subscribers till date. Construction of 5G base stations is in full swing across the length and breadth of the country. The target is to achieve 2 million base stations by the end of this year to meet the demand arising from the on-going expansion of the country’s next-generation mobile network. Industry reports indicate that China could lead the way in terms of the number of 5G connections throughout the next five years globally, with the market revenue soaring from 0.6 trillion yuan to over six trillion yuan by 2030.
5G innovations to expand application scale and improve ROI
Chinese operators continue to make breakthroughs in 5G, which has largely contributed to expand their application scale and increase their return on investment (ROI). In April, China Telecom and China Unicom jointly announced the inter-carrier 5G UHD Voice over New Radio (VoNR) service known as 5G New Calling covering 100 major cities in China. Compared with 4G HD VoLTE, 5G New Calling connects faster, offers clearer audio and video experience, and yields higher bandwidth.
5G New Calling service is available on any device that supports it. Following the launch, mainstream device makers have announced support for the service. With large-scale adoption of the service across many devices and among wider user base, 5G New Calling is set to redefine the data usage pattern in the country.
5G New Calling also enables enhanced interactive communication environment for industries, and this will help improve enterprise competitiveness by enabling them to create more value for customers. Experts believe that 5G New Calling will empower industries, provide new, higher-quality digital life experience to consumers, and offer smarter, converged digital applications for enterprises.
The collaboration between China Telecom and China Unicom also highlights the green and low-carbon concept adopted by Chinese operators. By accelerating the promotion of inter-carrier roaming between operators across the industry, the usable range of 5G networks has been expanded, leading to significant reduction in energy consumption while also increasing return on investment (ROI).
Building the bright future for 5G across industries
Chinese operators also lead the way in integrating advanced 5G technologies and innovative applications into the core production scenarios of industrial customers, thus facilitating a bright future for industrial 5G.
In one of the recent 5G-Advanced developments, China Telecom released a key wireless technology for deterministic 5G networks. Introduced on 10 May 2022, the Super Time-Frequency Folding technology provides deterministic network capabilities with 4 ms latency, 99.9999 percent reliability, and 1 Gbit/s bandwidth.
Super Time-Frequency Folding is a revolutionary step for the 5G market in China as it allows operators to expedite the integration of 5G across industries. The technology is capable of addressing the needs of 80 percent of industries’ core production scenarios and can address their digital transformation requirements effectively, an official statement from the companies said.
“As 5G expands from the B2C market to B2B domains, customized 5G networks should not only assist the production of industries, but work their way into the core of production. They must develop end-to-end deterministic network capabilities, beyond just best-effort capabilities of traditional networks,” said Liu Guiqing, deputy general manager of China Telecom, during the launch.
The Super Time-Frequency Folding technology combines the zero-wait advantages of TDD large bandwidth and FDD air interface. With this, one network can efficiently support multiple service capabilities such as low latency, high reliability, large capacity, and large uplink, thus meeting the extreme network performance requirements of the industry while also helping the industrial Internet realize the business value.
Super Time-Frequency Folding technology also fulfils the network capability requirements of URLLC, large uplink and large downlink for various comprehensive applications in enterprise industrial parks and production workshops, enabling machines to operate autonomously, allowing employees to work with more ease, and making enterprises run more efficiently, according to industry resources.
“China Telecom stands ready to work with players from various industries to constantly drive technology and model innovation,” Guiqing further said.
As China looks for a bright future with 5G, innovations like 5G New Calling and Super Time-Frequency Folding hold greater value in terms of the prospects they bring across the B2B and B2C segments. Chinese telecom operators’ investment in 5G network construction is estimated to touch 1.2 trillion yuan by 2025, and further investment of 3.5 trillion yuan is expected to flow across the industrial chain as well as other related areas during this period. A large share of this investment is expected to go in the direction of 5G-driven technology evolution, network construction and applications.