Shanghai’s Hongkou becomes world’s 1st 5G district

Shanghai: Shanghai on Saturday claimed to have the world’s first district with 5G coverage and a broadband gigabit network. It conducted trial runs of the 5G network, backed by telecom services provider China Mobile.

“Trial runs of the 5G network started on Saturday in Shanghai’s Hongkou district, where 5G base stations had been deployed over the last three months to ensure full coverage,” the China Daily reported.

Shanghai’s vice-mayor Wu Qing made the network’s first 5G video call on Huawei’s Mate X smartphone, the first 5G foldable phone.

The city aims to build over 10,000 5G base stations by the end of this year and the number of 5G base stations could cross 30,000 in 2021, said Zhang Jianming, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Economic and Informatisation Commission, the telecom and industry regulator.

5G, the next generation of cellular technology, will have download speed 10-100 times faster than the 4G LTE networks.

In February, Shanghai announced a 5G deployment programme at Hongqiao Railway Station where users would be able to watch live broadcasts of town hall meetings and experience lightning-quick downloads of high-resolution movies as and when 5G-powered phones and tablets become available.

“Shanghai also plans to nurture over 100 innovative companies, specialised in exploring 5G-related application scenarios, whose industrial output is expected to reach 100 billion yuan ($14.9 billion) by 2021,” Zhang was quoted as saying by the China Daily.

Chinese premium smartphone player Huawei is leading the 5G race globally with its massive investments in R&D, but is facing the heat from some Western countries, particularly the US. They allege that Huawei’s 5G network could pose a national security threat.

According to Huawei, Mate X would be launched by mid-year and considering India as an important market, it would be introduced here soon after.