BEIJING, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- China will speed up the development of 5G projects that were delayed due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19), and is expected to push forward large-scale 5G construction in the second half of this year, reported the Xinhua-run China Securities Journal.
With greater government policy support and efforts made by operators, the supply capacity of the 5G industrial chain is on the track of recovery.
The use of 5G technology has been extended amid the epidemic to such areas as telemedicine, online education, and live streaming, indicating business opportunities from industrial integration.
-- Construction of 5G base stations to accelerate
China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) recently urged major telecom operators to timely assess the impacts of the COVID-2019 outbreak and quicken construction of the 5G network.
Telecom companies should optimize construction plans of the 5G network and fully utilize their role in stabilizing investments and spurring the development of related industrial chain, according to a statement released after a work conference of the MIIT on February 23.
The top three telecom operators in China have successively released their plans on accelerating 5G construction.
China Unicom said it will work with China Telecom to finish the construction of 100,000 5G base stations in the first half of this year, and build a total of 250,000 5G base stations across the country by the end of the third quarter, three months ahead of original schedule.
China Mobile also said it is actively resuming 5G construction to achieve the goal of completing building 300,000 5G base stations by the end of 2020.
A total of 600,000 to 700,000 5G base stations will be built by Chinese telecom operators this year to provide 5G services in 340 cities. Meanwhile, the operators will expand investment in 5G construction, with focus on 5G stand-alone network, according to a research report by China International Capital Corporation Limited (CICC).
As infrastructure construction accelerates, the 5G industry is likely to usher in a booming era after the epidemic, stated observers in the telecom industry.
The 5G industry has been playing an important role in stabilizing investment. According to a report on 5G economics released in last December, the investment in the 5G network in China may hit 0.9 trillion yuan to 1.5 trillion yuan from 2020 to 2025.
-- Supply recovery on track
The supply capacity of the 5G industrial chain is getting restored, thanks to efforts made by relevant parties.
To overcome the problems of insufficient production capacity and extended supply cycle caused by the epidemic, China Unicom said it would actively communicate with equipment manufacturers on its demands in advance, leaving enough time for suppliers to ensure timely delivery of equipment and materials.
In the meantime, the company will work with China Telecom to formulate joint bidding plans for 5G wireless equipment and emergency plans for 5G equipment procurement, in an effort to drive major equipment manufacturers to resume production.
IT equipment manufacturers are promoting the resumption of work to ensure stable production, according to MIIT. For example, Huawei has resumed operation on February 3, while ZTE has 60 percent of employees return to work and 70 percent of its production capacity restored as of February 25.
It is noted that as of February 20, China Unicom has put 64,000 5G base stations into operation, covering municipalities, major provincial capitals, and main cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area, Yangtze River Delta, Greater Bay Area and other regions. China Mobile also said it had put 74,000 5G base stations in use by the end of January.
-- Wide application in vertical industries
China has extended the use of 5G technology in the ongoing battle against COVID-2019, with wide applications in telemedicine, online education, live streaming and other sectors.
Typically, with support of 5G network, smart city construction in China is expected to enter a new growth stage, according to China Securities Journal.
In the fight against COVID-2019, emerging technologies such as machine vision and big data analysis have empowered smart city platforms to play significant role in many fields including case screening, epidemic monitoring, early warning and traffic control, said CICC.
CICC pointed out that the technologies accumulated in withstanding the epidemic are expected to be rolled out in various regions in the future in order to improve the efficiency of urban governance.
MIIT said that telecom enterprises should timely review the role of 5G in epidemic prevention and control, and accelerate the promotion of new services, new models and new applications. Meanwhile, enterprises should capitalize on 5G-related business opportunities in sectors such as online education and health services to spur information consumption.
It is learned that MIIT will introduce new policies to advance the integration of 5G with healthcare, education, Internet of vehicles, and other vertical sectors. It will also press ahead the integrated application of 5G plus industrial Internet to promote the transformation of traditional industries toward digitalization. (Edited by Su Dan, firstname.lastname@example.org)