China vows openness, collaboration in 5G race

2019-06-11 09:28:14Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Foreign firms welcomed unlike U.S. unilateral, narrow-minded approach

China has shown its open stance and strong willingness to cooperate with foreign companies in the 5G era, in contrast with narrow-minded and unilateral approaches of the U.S. While major companies embrace the spirit of free competition and worldwide cooperation in technological development, the U.S. will continue losing stakes in the global 5G race, analysts said.  

Major foreign telecoms vendors and 5G chipset markets welcomed the latest issuance of 5G licenses in China, vowing to play bigger roles in the country's 5G rollout. 

"Ericsson hopes to become part of China's 5G innovative ecosystem, pushing forward 5G development in the country and sharing our successful business experience in 5G with other countries," Zhao Juntao, president of Ericsson China, said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Monday. 

Nokia will fully support China's ICT industry as it has been doing for the past 40 years, and cooperation with multinational companies is highly recognized by the Chinese government, which makes the company more confident in the healthy, steady and sustainable development of China's 5G industry, Markus Borchert, president of Nokia China, said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Monday. 

As soon as the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued 5G licenses to major Chinese carriers on Thursday morning, it also said in an online statement that the top regulator will continue welcoming foreign companies to take part in 5G deployment in the country and to share the dividends of 5G development. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping also said during the plenary session of the 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum that China is willing to share its latest scientific achievements, including 5G technology, with other countries. 

Considering the current situation, China retains open attitude toward foreign companies in the 5G rollout, showing that the development of 5G is a result of global cooperation, and China's stance is in significant contrast with that of the U.S., Li Zhen, an industry expert at Beijing-based CCID Consulting, told the Global Times on Monday. 

"It's also part of greater efforts in helping boost the global telecoms industry. If the U.S. continues to isolate itself from global cooperation, it's unlikely to maintain a leading position in the 5G race," Li said. 

In spite of the U.S.-led clampdown on Huawei on the global stage, the Chinese companies, along with ZTE, are among top five suppliers of 5G equipment including radio hardware and systems. Huawei will lead with 24.8 percent in 5G subscriber share for radio access network equipment by 2023, followed by Ericsson with 22.9 percent and Nokia with 22.7 percent, industry news site reported in April, citing an industry analysis.

In China, Nokia and Ericsson will have no more than a 15 percent market share in the 5G market, some Chinese analysts forecast, as major carriers have largely been dependent on Huawei and ZTE equipment, particularly in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. 

"Carriers sometimes need to diversify their procurement plans to increase network security - for example, to have backup vendors in case of a network fault," a senior executive at China Mobile, who declined to be identified, told the Global Times during the weekend. 

Some Chinese vendors surpassed their foreign rivals in product quality and service maintenance in the 4G era, and it will be challenging for companies like Ericsson and Nokia to catch up in 5G, he said. 

Another source close to the matter told the Global Times that to insist on a multinational strategy in the 5G rollout also helps carriers increase their stakes in the bidding and pricing process, and two foreign vendors will not have more than a 20 percent market share in 5G deployment. 

Fair competition 

China welcoming foreign competitors into the 5G market has more significance considering the current situation. In particular, embracing Swedish and Finnish vendors reflects the importance of China-EU collaboration in the 5G era, analysts said. 

"Europe has capabilities in taking part in the 5G rollout, and it remains an overall open attitude in working with China," Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Beijing-based Information Consumption Alliance, told the Global Times on Monday. 

The U.S. rejecting Huawei and ZTE in an unfair way dampens global collaboration, which will slow down the overall development of 5G in the country, he said. "Washington hinders cooperation because it also lacks 5G capabilities except 5G chipsets, which gives it little chance to collaborate with other countries," Xiang added.

The official release of 5G licenses is helping the country get into the fast lane in the 5G rollout. Three carriers - China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom - have been actively holding network trials while pushing forward commercial use.

Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province - which is considered as a new Silicon Valley - will accelerate 5G base construction. It expects to build about 8,500 base stations by the end of the year, media reports said on Monday. The next generation of wireless technologies will be used in different scenarios including healthcare, transportation, education, and technology.

Attendees at the upcoming WEF Dalian 2019 can also test how fast 5G networks can be in few weeks. The venues for the forum are to be fully covered by 5G, and visitors will enjoy superfast internet, 5G-powered virtual reality and 4K videos, local authorities said on Monday. 

China Tower, which engages in telecoms power construction, said it has already completed about 4,400 large-scale 5G base stations in Beijing, and the network will cover crowded areas such as Tiananmen Square, the financial district and the Palace Museum.


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