Economic review

Push to expand global presence is ratcheted up

2017-12-04 11:11:00 (Beijing Time)         China Daily

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Huawei, China's biggest telecoms equipment maker, displays its 5G technologies at a telecoms exhibition in Beijing in September. (Photo by Chen Xiaodong/For China Daily)

Chinese telecoms groups are ratcheting up a major push to expand their overseas presence, as they rush to garner more business from planned fifth generation mobile communications networks in foreign countries.[Special Coverage]

Their intensified efforts come as a report by Qualcomm Inc forecast that the super-fast internet work will help the global telecoms industry to create $3.5 trillion of output and generate 22 million jobs by 2035.

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, China's biggest telecoms equipment maker, said it has so far helped to build a dozen pre-commercialized 5G networks in cities around the world, in countries such as Canada, Italy and Japan.

In Germany it partnered with the local telecoms carrier Deutsche Telekom, launching Europe's first pre-5G connection network in September this year.

The pre-5G network went live on Deutsche Telekom's network in central Berlin and delivered downstream speeds of more than 2 gigabits per second and latency of just three milliseconds over the spectrum in the 3.7 gigahertz band.

These results comfortably beat the most advanced 4G networks. The best examples of 4G have gigabit speeds less than half that of the 5G network.

ZTE Corp, a smaller Chinese peer of Huawei, is also moving in this direction. It announced last month a partnership with Italy's largest operator Wind Tre and Italian wholesale fiber network operator Open Fiber, to build a pre-commercial 5G network.

It has also signed up with French telecoms carrier Orange Group to test and assess several key 5G enabling technologies.

Li Yi, chief researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences' internet research center, said Chinese vendors are now able to provide competitive services for the overseas market and grab opportunities from 5G.

That was thanks to their consistent push in research and development, as well as their abundant resources and support from the Chinese government.

"The 5G cooperation with overseas partners will enable Chinese vendors to play key roles in the fast development of 5G globally," Li said.

"Meanwhile, the cooperation will also speed up the commercialization of 5G in related overseas countries and regions."

Chinese players are establishing a beachhead in the pre-commercialized 5G network. When the first version of 5G standards comes out in June 2018, they will have the edge to quickly upgrade their telecoms infrastructure, he added.

According to ZTE, the network trials with Wind Tre and Open Fiber are scheduled to be conducted in the Italian provinces of L'Aquila and Prato, with a 5G innovation and research center to be built in the former.

ZTE said it would work with local universities and companies to test and verify the performance of 5G technology and network architecture, as well as 4G and 5G network integration.