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China and 5G in 2019

Racing Past Global Competition as a Leader in 5G Technology

China is said to be leading the charge on implementation of 5G, and I will explore an outline of the current situation towards the end of 2019. For this article I have read up on writing by Jeremy Goldkorn; a report by EY on China and 5G; recent articles in Bloomberg; and in Fortune. The official state-run press agency of the People’s Republic of China Xinhua reported earlier in 2019 about the current plans in China to expand the 5G network. It stated that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology officially issued 5G commercial licenses to China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Radio and Television.

Infographic from Xihuan news agency retrieved the 31st of October 2019

“中国信息通信研究院《5G产业经济贡献》认为,预计2020至2025年,我国5G商用直接带动的经济总产出达10.6万亿元,5G将直接创造超过300万个就业岗位。”

China Information and Communication Research Institute “5G Industry Economic Contribution” believes that from 2020 to 2025, China’s 5G commercial direct economic output will reach 10.6 trillion yuan, 5G will directly create more than 3 million jobs.

In this regard China also states that it welcomes foreign companies to work in China.

The ministries of Commerce and of Ecology and Environment released a short-term plan 2019–2020 to work on this issue together by promoting consumption of electronics and vehicles that depend on 5G. Commercially companies such as Huawei has began moving fast towards developing their own technology to pull away from America with their ongoing trade war after being blacklisted by Trump.

A report by EY outlines that China is poised to win the ‘5G race’. They have made an apt infographic to illustrate this showing that China has a large share of the current 5G connections; revenue and a large degree of local connections.

Infographics by EY retrieved on the 31st of October

Although trust in certain countries has dropped for China, there has still been an expressed interest to develop 5G together and there is an outline expenditure on 5G solutions.

The 30th of October the publication Bloomberg released an article titled China Rolls Out World’s Largest 5G Mobile Phone Network. The news related to China’s three state-owned wireless carriers debuted 5G mobile phone service. The article states:

China Mobile Ltd., the country’s largest carrier, unveiled its network in 50 cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, with packages priced as low as 128 yuan ($18) a month”

This comes in a way against the backdrop of the rejection of US by Huawei and its 5G technologies. It was planned a year later, but is now rolled out earlier than planned. This means China has the largest commercial 5G network in the world.

Retrieved from Bloomberg on the 31st of October

Further Bloomberg writes that dominance in China is and important strategic move for Huawei:

“Dominance in the world’s largest market can blunt the effects of a U.S. campaign against other countries installing Huawei gear, which it accuses of posing a security threat. Despite the U.S. pressure, Huawei said in July that it had signed more than 60 commercial contracts to supply 5G networks around the world, including at least 28 in Europe.”

The consulting firm EY previously outlined a pathway to commercial launch, but it seems China is speeding ahead of these expectations:

Infographics by EY retrieved on the 31st of October

There is additionally a series of use cases to considered. I have mentioned some previously, however we can see that there is a larger amount of possibilities to be considered in personal and business use-cases.

In Fortune online Alan Segal, director of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations argued on the 31st of October 2019 that:

“A lot of it is also driven by the realization that (the U.S.) doesn’t have a manufacturer in this space, so, let’s try to slow the Chinese down,”

Combining this with one of the most ambitious policies for artificial intelligence in the world seems an interesting way to take technological leadership.

It seems at least that China has achieved 5G leadership, at least from a surface look at the issue.

In saying so we have to add with some moderation that knowledge about 5G and relating to these technologies and distributed. Size is not everything, and we may not know who is currently advancing 5G technologies beyond the current scope and large scale of the Chinese investment.

However we might have to look closer at this in one of my next articles.

This is #500daysofAI and you are reading article 149. I write one new article about or related to artificial intelligence every day for 500 days.

AI Policy and Ethics at www.nora.ai. Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own. twitter.com/AlexMoltzau