China will see roll out of 5G mobile phones as early as next year, as mobile handset makers Xiaomi and Oppo have completed the connection of 5G signaling and data links.
Xiaomi's President Lin Bin posted a photo on his microblog Monday, where a phone with thin bezels revealed its interface. Looking closely at the signal strength indicator, the "5G" icon is clearly visible.
Later the company announced its successful test of 5G data connections on Xiaomi phones via official account on Sina Weibo, China's answer to Twitter, which, it said, laid a solid foundation for officially launching 5G phones next year.
The photo's background showed "NR5G", or 5G New Radio (5G-NR), which is part of the official 5G standard made by telecommunications industry authorities such as the 3rd Generation Partnership Project, or 3GPP.
Last Tuesday, the Guangdong-based Oppo first claimed its accomplishment on connection of 5G signaling and data links based on commercial mobile phones. The connection is carried out on a pre-commercially available 5G smartphone developed on the basis of Oppo R15.
Liu Chang, president of the research institute at Oppo, said: "The connection of telecom signal and data links is prerequisite for reliable communication on 5G mobile phones. The test will promote the maturity of 5G smartphones, and lays down a solid foundation for us to release fully commercial 5G products in 2019."
According to the Paper, both Xiaomi and Oppo adopted 5G NR n78 band, which is one of the first and most widely used bands in the world and has great significance for the commercial application of the first batch of 5G products.
5G networks are the next generation of mobile internet connectivity, with faster speed and more reliable connections. The technology would allow people to access 3D communication, 4K+ ultra high definition video, online AR/VR, cloud office and gaming. In theory, the download speed through 5G networks is more than ten times faster than that through 4G.
The race for 5G is heating up, as mobile phones giants like Samsung, Huawei, and Vivo also race to be first to market with the new technology.
Vivo said on Thursday that the company has basically finished the software and hardware development for commercial use of 5G smartphones on the basis of its new handset Vivo NEX, and its 5G mobile phones are going to test with network devices.
Vivo's CEO Shen Wei said in December that the company will issue 5G mobile phones and partake in the 5G network test in 2018, adding that Vivo will launch its pre-commercially available 5G cellphones in 2019 and officially sell 5G mobile phones for commercial use in 2020.
Huawei also planned to release its first mobile phones available to 5G networks in the second half of 2019.
In August, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and National Development and Reform Commission jointly issued a plan, which stated China will realize commercial use of 5G technology in 2020.
According to a research from a global industry analysis firm Counterpoint Research, growth of 5G smartphone shipments is expected to be slow during the initial commercialization phase in 2019, but the sales volume would achieve a 255 percent increase by 2021, almost reaching 110 million units.