From smooth conference calls in a crowded train station to live broadcasts of townhall meetings and lightning-quick downloads of high-resolution movies, Shanghai’s superfast 5G network is turning technological dreams into reality.
In the latest development, the city’s Hongqiao Railway Station, one of Asia’s biggest traffic hubs, has launched a 5G network that will allow passengers to experience data speeds up to 100 times faster than what is available now.
The railway station’s 5G network, the result of teaming up with telecommunication equipment maker Huawei Technologies, is seen as a milestone in Shanghai’s commercial 5G deployment to become a dual-gigaband city, with gigabit network speeds on mobile as well as fixed networks.
“Hongqiao Railway Station is leading the 5G commercial deployment in Shanghai,” said Zhang Jianming, vice-chairman of Shanghai’s Commission of Economy and Information Technology. “It will help speed up digital transformation for all sectors across the digital economy.”
As the 5G era approaches, one of the key concerns for telecom operators will be how they can use 5G networks to meet the needs of high-density areas with thousands of people simultaneously using the network to make phone calls, access the internet and make mobile payments.
China Mobile’s Shanghai branch tapped Huawei’s 5G Digital Indoor System, which is currently the industry’s only commercially available system for 5G indoor coverage. The product, developed in Shanghai, is now ready for mass delivery.
“China’s 4G deployment has already allowed me to watch live broadcast shows even during subway rides, which is unthinkable elsewhere,” said Chen Ziying, a 33-year-old banker in Shanghai who frequently travels overseas. “It’s amazing simply to imagine what 5G can help us achieve.”
5G railway stations are just one of the many ways in which the network can be applied. With characteristics such as high data rate, energy savings, cost reduction, higher system capacity and massive device connectivity, 5G will bring a range of new services, from virtual reality and artificial intelligence to ultra-high-definition video.