China Unicom ‘first in China’ to show 5G at Shanghai event

23 April 2019 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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China Unicom is claiming to be the first Chinese operator to demonstrate 5G mobile services.

The company is due to show off the next generation of mobile technology at a conference starting today in Shanghai.

Qiang Fu, general manager of China Unicom’s network expansion department, said: “China Unicom is excited to work closely with the broader ecosystem to accelerate 5G launch in China. We are preparing for the arrival of the 5G era.”

The company is working with chip maker Qualcomm as well as a number of handset and device makers, including OnePlus, Xiaomi and ZTE. All are using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 mobile platform with the X50 5G modem, said the US chip company.

Frank Meng, chairman of Qualcomm China, said: “Like previous generations, 5G is the result of more than a decade of collaborative efforts by Qualcomm Technologies and our ecosystem partners, with the mission of preparing the mobile industry for 5G rollout starting this year.”

The China Unicom partner conference – taking place in Shanghai from today until Thursday – will show over-the-air connections and applications using the company’s live 5G network and mobile devices using Qualcomm solutions.

Partners said they would show HD video streaming, cloud gaming, web browsing and real-time data sharing between devices and cloud.

“It takes many years of R&D, specification, prototyping, testing, trials and product development to bring a new generation of mobile technology to China and the world,” said Meng.

The event marks the re-emergence of collaboration between ZTE and Qualcomm after the Chinese vendor – a rival to Huawei – was banned for a time last year from using US technology because of a covert operation to ship goods to Iran. ZTE nearly closed down but came back into the business after paying a substantial fine to the US and agreeing to years of legal oversight.

Feng Xu, CEO of ZTE Mobile Devices, said: “In the commercialisation of 5G technology, ZTE has been actively cooperating with industry leaders, including Qualcomm Technologies, to achieve 5G end-to-end connections and applications, and we look forward to the new experiences that 5G will create.”