China ramps up 5G research with 2020 commercial target

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has announced the start of a formal 5G research programme targeting operator commercial launch by 2020.

“The purpose of the research and test is to support the formulation of global 5G standards and boost the development of the telecom industry,” said Cao Shumin, head of the MIIT 5G R&D team to the official Chinese news agency Xinhua.

Further details were obtained by Chinese tech site C114, which revealed that MIIT plans to begin commercial testing in 2018 having first gone through a three stage technology verification process. It expects this roadmap to coincide with that of the ITU, 3GPP, etc.

“The 5G test is divided into two steps: the first is technology R&D test (2015 to 2018), which will be organized by CAICT and jointly participated by operators, equipment vendors and scientific research institutions; the second is product R&D test (2018 to 2020), which is organized by domestic operators and participated by equipment vendors and scientific research institutions,” Shumin told C114.

There was no explicit mention of the 5G pact China signed with Europe last September, or any of the countless other agreements, MOUs and promised collaborations that continue to be announced concerning 5G. Presumably the MIIT will coordinate its work with the rest of the world, but it’s clear that China wants to be a leader rather than a follower in the next generation of mobile technology.

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