A China Mobile sign is seen at the Consumer Electronics Show in Shanghai. Photo: Reuters / Aly Song

Telecom giants in China are pushing ahead with ambitious 5G plans at home that include new high-tech chipsets.

The Shenzen-based Huawei has been embroiled in a security controversy abroad after the US, Australia and New Zealand banned it from new super-fast networks in their countries. But this does not appear to have fazed other operators.

State-owned telecom China Mobile unveiled its first 5G chipsets and nine 5G devices at the Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona. Its first commercial devices are expected to reach the market by June. 

The 5G chipsets will be provided by Qualcomm, Huawei, MediaTek and Unisoc, while 5G devices will be released by China Mobile, Huawei, Vivo, Oppo, ZTE, Xiaomi and Samsung.

Among the 5G devices, some will support both NSA and SA, while some will have peak throughputs that reach 4.67 Gbps in sub-6 GHz spectrum, the operator said.

China Mobile set up the 5G Device Forerunner Initiative in February 2018. About 36 members have so far participated in the initiative, covering the whole industry, including terminals, chipsets, components and instrumentation. This year, the initiative will continue to focus on four key issues for 5G devices: maturity of communication capability, differentiated values, diverse forms and low-cost solutions. 

It also unveiled Forerunner One, its new 5G Smart Hub. The device is equipped with traditional CPE functions and supports WiGig-enhanced connection capability to transfer a 5G signal to other devices without quality loss. The hub also supports AI voice and comes in a lightweight format so it can easily be held in one hand. Forerunner One is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 5G modem and supports sub-6 GHz 5G frequencies, including the 2.6 GHz band. 

China Mobile’s initiative will release a technical whitepaper on 5G commercial devices, carry out joint tests for devices, and continue to upgrade the consumer experience.

“The initiative will also establish a ‘5G New Frequency Band (2.6GHz) Special Promotion Group’ to discuss technical issues and to launch new integrated RF devices,” it said in a press release. “By inviting partners from vertical industry and internet applications to jointly research and explore 5G business applications and device forms, the group hopes to launch more forms of intelligent devices and produce different type and multi-category devices. It will also set up an industry benchmarking.”

“China Mobile received trial 5G spectrum at the end of 2018 in the 2.6 and 4.8 GHz bands. In December it already previewed a number of planned 5G devices and announced partners, and in January it started the first field tests of 5G services.”

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