Published: 19:51, March 13, 2020 | Updated: 06:28, June 6, 2023
Telecom giants test 5G capabilities during outbreak
By Zhou Mo in Shenzhen

The application of 5G technology in various industries is expected to speed up as the coronavirus outbreak has offered a glimpse into how the next-generation mobile network can reshape people’s work and lives in regard to medical care, remote work and distant learning.

Telecom industry players have moved to make the current health crisis a testing ground for 5G applications in daily lives, equipping hospitals with the superfast mobile network to facilitate prevention and control of the disease.

Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp joined hands with China Telecom to provide 5G network for Leishenshan hospital, one of the makeshift hospitals built to receive patients with severe symptoms in Wuhan – the epicenter of the outbreak.

Telecom industry players have moved to make the current health crisis a testing ground for 5G applications in daily lives, equipping hospitals with the superfast mobile network to facilitate prevention and control of the disease

The mobile network, which features high speed and low latency, allows medical professionals to carry out CT scans remotely, thereby reducing the risk of contagion. It also enables medical experts from different parts of the country to conduct video conferencing and make online diagnoses of patients.

So far, ZTE’s 5G network has covered nearly 200 hospitals in 82 cities across the country, the Shenzhen-headquartered company said.

“We have been actively promoting 5G application in medical care, new media, distant learning, automation and other areas based on the 5G network we provide,” Gan Yingdong, a 5G project representative at ZTE, said.

 “So far, 5G has successfully been applied in a wide range of fields, including remote consultation and diagnosis, high-speed transmission of medical image data, live-streaming, video conferencing, smart robot, driverless delivery car, distant video education, monitoring and body temperature check, which provides strong support for the fight against the outbreak.”

China is making great efforts to achieve full 5G commercialization as part of its broader push to become a world technology leader.

President Xi Jinping said at a recent top-level meeting that construction of “new infrastructure” such as a 5G network and data centers should be accelerated.

The digital economy is becoming a new driver of growth for the Chinese economy, and 5G, as a core part of the “new infrastructure”, plays a vital role in the development of digital economy, explained Zhong Zhenshan, a senior analyst with IDC.

 “We expect 5G to get widespread application first in such areas as individual entertainment, smart cities, online education, remote medical care. The technology will then be applied in the manufacturing, transport, retail and energy industries.”

With speeds 100 times faster than the current 4G network, 5G is believed to be the backbone for powering internet of things, autonomous vehicles, smart city, etc.

According to the estimate by China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, total investment of 5G network in the country is expected to reach 1.2 trillion yuan ($173 billion) by 2025. More than 3 million jobs are projected to be created by 5G, it said.

The country’s three major carriers – China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom – have built more than 156,000 5G base stations so far and the number is expected to reach 550,000 by the end of this year.

sally@chinadailyhk.com