An employee works at her booth during the second day of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Feb. 28, 2017. (Xinhua/Lino De Vallier)
Leading companies are showcasing at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) the first signs of the 5G era, a technology that China has played an important role in developing.
According to forecasts by trade association and event organizers GSMA, commercial 5G networks will begin to be widely deployed at the beginning of the next decade.
It will be faster, allowing the support of a whole system of industries that will provide a new set of needs that 4G has not been able to support so far, such as robotic surgery or massive Internet of Things (IoT), among others, organizers said.
5G connections are expected to reach 1.1 billion by 2025, said the GSMA, adding that will account for approximately one in eight mobile connections worldwide by this time.
Stuart Revell, from the 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey in Britain, told Xinhua that 1G to 4G were all about telephony and mobile broadband, whereas "5G will be all about vertical sectors and enabling things like healthcare, automotive, energy, smart cities -- new applications and services solving social economic challenges."
He said 5G technology could be applied to the automotive sector, which would range "from very high definition video entertainment in the car through to safety systems, to avoid collision or autonomous driving," he said.
Nishanth Sasty from King's College London agreed. "It is going to support a whole ecosystem of industries, a whole new set of needs that we have not been able to support in 4G so far."
Experts said China's experience and knowledge plays an important role in 5G development.
"They are very active in partnerships with us right through from research, development, tests and trials and standardization work," Revell said, adding "We see them as a very important partner for our work within the University of Surrey in the 5G."
Henry Calvert, head of Network 2020 of the GSMA, said "the innovation is in China," and its knowledge and experience is "valuable for the rest of the world."
Sasty underlined the importance of a harmonized development of 5G. "What is going to be important is to harmonize what China is doing with what the rest of the world is also doing, so that we have a standard platform for 5G."
Calvert pointed out "we have to find spectrum that we can deploy this on cost-effectively."