At the recently concluded Mobile World Congress 2018, China Mobile announced an aggressive and effective 5G Standalone Plan. They will also launch the large-scale trials by the end of this year and the only company which has its own standalone rollout in 2020.
China Mobile Communications Corp. will conduct the field trials in cities like Shanghai, Hangzhou along with the other cities in the second quarter of this year. They are expected to have around 100 base stations in each city.
It is expected to deploy small-scale “apps demonstration” trials in many other cities, which also includes Beijing and Shenzhen. Liu Guangyi, who is designated in the position of CTO for terminal and wireless technology at China Mobile Research Institution, said that the trial networks will run in the 3.5GHz band, along with the deployment of 4.9GHz.
The focus is now on the major technologies i.e. massive MIMO outdoor, network slicing etc. The software should only be upgraded once the 5G standard is done. The next process involves the test process for a pre-commercial system. A pre-commercial customer experience can also be offered later on next year. The Chinese firm is now very much in for standalone deployment.
The other 5G adopters, like SK Telecom and NTT Docomo who have already taken the cost-effective non-standalone approach, which is now running the different 4G/5G networks. According to the last year GSMA intelligence report, standalone deployment is only effective for a National Rollout and it might not be cost effective in initial stages. This will also become an expensive affair in the coming years.
One of the major challenges for 5G is now to meet the needs of the different industries. This is where the requirement of a much-advanced 5G comes. It not only requires the radio part but also involves the new-generation core networks. This is the only way to empower the different enterprises and industries.
Since China Mobile is planning to go for a choice which is not adopted by other telcos, it might face interoperability challenges.