ZTE Corp and the Guangdong branch of mobile carrier giant China Mobile recently made the first call based on fifth-generation (5G) telecommunication network standards in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province, speeding up commercialization of the technology.
The call was an end-to-end connection based on 3GPP R15 standards, according to a statement ZTE emailed to the Global Times.
China Mobile, the world's biggest mobile phone operator by subscribers, plans to conduct 5G scale tests in multiple Chinese cities in 2018, the statement said. In June 2017, the two companies opened the nation's first 5G preliminary commercial base station in Guangzhou, a designated city to conduct trials of the 5G technology.
The first call, which follows the latest 3GPP R15 standards, is a major contribution to the global 5G industry, noted the statement. The standards involves specification of technologies including hardware, software, new radio access and frequency.
The two companies have been together since 2016 to promote and test 5G technology.
China Mobile, which reported a 5 percent rise in profit for 2017 to 114.4 billion yuan ($18 billion) on March 22, is spearheading the country's 5G development. The company plans to launch trial 5G services in 2019 and full commercial services in 2020, according to a stock exchange filing.
The company planned capital expenditure of 166.1 billion yuan for 2018, including investment for carrying out 5G tests in 17 cities.
Telecom equipment maker ZTE said in January it planned to raise 13 billion yuan via a private placement to support 5G mobile network technology development, as part of a three-year investment program costing 42.9 billion yuan.
ZTE and competitor Huawei Technologies are key players in China's push to be among the world's first to build a 5G network by 2020. The 5G communication technology is supposed to be at least 10 times faster than the 4G network.
"The company expects that 2018 to 2020 will be a crucial period for the formulation and industrialization of global standards for 5G technology," ZTE said in its filing.
ZTE said it has strategic cooperation agreements with more than 20 carriers including China's three State-own carriers as well as carriers in Italy, Belgium, Malaysia and South Korea.
The deals are aimed at accelerating the technology's commercialization.