China Mobile CEO Li Yue said at the Mobile World Congress that 2016 may expect to see 500 million 4G users in China, and that commercial 5G mobile networks will spread on a large scale by 2020.
Smartphone manufacturer Huawei puts forward that 4.5G networks may serve as a bridge between 4G and 5G, NetEase Tech reported.
“5G is tomorrow, and 4.5G is today,” said Qiu Heng, president of Huawei Wireless Network Marketing Operation.
Huawei believes that 2016 is the beginning of scaled commercialization for 4.5G, and plans to deploy 60 4.5G networks within 2016. According to Qiu, 30 networks have adopted 4.5G so far.
As 4.5G networks commercialize, the technology of Narrow Band Internet of Things (NB-IoT), that features low cost and long battery life for large number of devices, may also provide something to build upon. Qiu said that service and product standards for NB-IoT have been set, meaning that over 500 communication carriers around the globe, together with hundreds of device and equipment manufacturers, will provide services and products with the same standards.
Huawei will introduce its end-to-end NB-IoT solutions in this September, and the company predicts that by the end of 2017 there would be 30 commercial networks worldwide based on NB-IoT.
The chief marketing officer of Huawei Wireless Product Line, Yang Chaobin, said that the year 2020 may be a start date for 5G, and that both the technological capabilities and the commercialization of 5G will continue throughout the decade that follows. Yang said that 5G would act as a major drive for Augmented Reality (AR) and Vitrual Reality (VR), as good VR/AR experience requires better broadband.
Huawei announced in June its architecture of CloudRAN that helps China Mobile improve network performance. Additionally, although the smartphone market is maturing, the president of Huawei’s mobile phone product line, He Gang, said that the company has not toned down their 2016 sales target, and that shipping 140 million smartphone units in 2016 is not a problem.
(Top photo from Baidu Images)