Shanghai began trialling a 5G network in its Hongkou district on Saturday, having deployed a total of 228 base transceiver stations (BTS) across the area in the preceding three months. At a launch ceremony for the system, the city’s vice mayor showcased a video call over the network using a 5G-compatible handset from Chinese vendor Huawei. The 5G network covers the entirety of the district, leading city officials to claim Hongkou as the world’s first district to boast both 5G and gigabit broadband coverage.
Zhang Jianming, vice director of the local telecommunications authority, the Shanghai Municipal Economic and Informatisation Commission, noted that the city aims to build over 10,000 5G BTS by the end of the year, with that figure rising to 30,000 in 2021. The official explained that a comprehensive rollout of the new technology would be conducive to the development of industrial manufacturing, internet-connected cars, healthcare and smart city management, all of which the authority considers critical industries for the city and China as a whole. ‘Shanghai also aims to nurture over 100 innovative companies specialised in exploring 5G-related application scenarios, whose industrial output is expected to reach CNY100 billion [USD14.9 billion] by 2021,’ the official added.
The trial was supported by the nation’s largest cellco by subscribers, China Mobile, with the operator’s VP Jian Qin quoted as saying: ‘China Mobile has invested the most in Shanghai to date to help the city expand its 5G trial network and related applications.’