China Mobile said it will launch large-scale pre-commercial 5G trials in China in 2019, ahead of the commercial launch in 2020, according to a company executive.
China Mobile will launch a new phase of its 5G field trials in seven sites or cities this year, said Wang Xiaoyun, general manager of technical department at China Mobile and vice chairman of IMT-2020 PG, China’s 5G promotion group.
Wang said China Mobile’s 5G trials will be carried out in two phases, with phase 1 focusing on key technology validation and phase 2 on product validation.
“Now at this time we finished field trails on key technology component validation and will focus on proof of concept system field trials this year, and move to pre-commercial trials for [interoperability] tests in 20 sites or cities in 2018,” Wang told the press at the Global 5G Test Summit at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Tuesday.
The trial is expected to expand to over 100 sites or cities 2019, before the rollout proceeds to the commercial launch stage in 2020.
Wang said China Mobile has set up the world’s largest 5G field trial in Huairou district in northern Beijing, with six telecoms equipment vendors - Huawei, ZTE, Ericsson, Datang, Samsung, Nokia - as well as chipset makers like Intel, Mediatek, and test instrument manufacturers like Spreadtrum and Keysight.
Together with these partners, China Mobile has conducted trials of key technologies including Massive MIMO on the 3.5-GHz band, the results of which show a 2-3x spectrum efficiency improvement compared to 4G, she said.
The operator has also carried out performance testing of mmWave spectrum on different frequency bands, such as 15-GHz, 28-GHz and 73-GHz.
Other trials include tests of new waveforms (F-OFDM), new multiple access (SCMA) and channel coding (polar code).
China Mobile has also set up a 5G innovation center with 59 partners, including Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, Hisense and Haier.
Wang said a unified standard, conducting tests on 5G and the creation of a cross-industry ecosystem are also important for the success of 5G.
“[The 5G] trial is key step to pushing standardization and to drive and increase 5G investment and development. Also it’s important to bring in vertical partners to join our 5G test.”